Often we spend our days ready to jump forward to the next thing… thinking about tomorrow, planning for next week, OR the very opposite and ruminating on yesterday, last week, or even 10 years. We find ourselves placing our focus on the things we do not have, the things we want, the things we think we need, and the things that are completely out of our control.
Take a few minutes and dig in to how these thinking patterns affect you. Sure, we can feel excitement for the future or reminisce for the good old days. But when we are constantly drawing our focus to the I wants, I needs, should haves, and could haves, we put ourselves on the hamster wheel of never having enough. It is here that feelings of despair, comparison, failure, and even anger creep in. In these moments we can become reactive and find ourselves caught up in the negative emotions of it all. It quite literally sucks the joy of living from us. This is a pattern that is easy to fall into.
But what if there was a way to re-frame that mindset? Short answer, there is… and all it takes is a little gratitude. Think of how we spend our Thanksgiving, taking moments to reflect on the things we are most grateful for, only now we do that every day of the year. This is practicing gratitude, and it is your practice of gratitude so make it as elaborate or as simple as you want.
Let’s start with the big:
Making gratitude lists at the beginning and end of each day
Writing a letter of gratitude to someone you are grateful for, highlighting all the reasons why
Gratitude phone calls
Gratitude celebrations (a party or dinner for someone, or to celebrate something)
Spending time in nature and practicing gratitude for your surroundings
Now, for the simple:
Pausing to take something in and reflecting on it (i.e.: on your commute, noticing a beautiful building, or the trees lining the side of the road and expressing a quick thought of gratitude for their existence, and your ability to notice them)
Thanking the cashier and savoring your interaction with them during a task as mundane as grocery shopping.
Savoring that first sip of your morning coffee
Pausing after getting out of bed in the morning (or before getting into bed at night) to feel your feet pressing down into the floor.
Celebrating small victories such as eating a healthy meal, performing a kind act, or crossing something off the to-do list.
Pausing in your most familiar settings to really take in your surroundings.
Even taking the most simple forms of gratitude and intertwining them in to our everyday can truly help us re-wire our mindset and bring joy in to our daily lives. I think we can all agree that joy and seeing the good is something we could all use.