Get Your Life Together with Intentional Gratitude
Common practice for this time of year is to get together with family, take memorable trips and even prepare for the year ahead. Whether you are the planner in the family or the one who takes orders, a common practice for staying organized typically includes creating lists: Black Friday shopping lists; grocery store itemizing; decoration or holiday party check lists. Whatever your heart’s desire to acquire before the year ends, a list can easily be drawn up. One list that often gets thrown in the pile is the annual “Things I am Grateful For” letter made with personal moments of reflection in mind. But why is this only promoted as an activity that happens once a year? Multiple studies exist that state that daily gratitude can contribute to a definite happier lifestyle. The overall reasoning behind this notion is that practicing gratitude regularly allows one to reassess personal goals and take action, rather than leaving one’s destiny up to wishful thinking. Take the time to reference this article as a way to remind yourself that this annual ritual can be changed into a more rewarding habit of creating joyful experiences through daily reflection. Here’s a quick overview on the practice, benefits and outcomes of daily gratitude:
Emotions create thoughts. Thoughts create actions. Actions create a lifestyle.
Let’s take into consideration the act of making a list. In this action, you mentally create personal guidelines for what you want to accomplish and then set an intention to achieve that goal. How then do you guarantee that your action produces any results? You reference that list once more to “check off” goals that have been completed. It is a mental commitment to see that task through with a touch of personal accountability. What you might not realize is that the act of checking things off is a desire to feel accomplished and proud of one’s efforts. You trigger emotions along the way to ensure positive results.
The same can be true of one’s act to make a list of moments of gratitude. By writing down these moments daily, you trigger your mind to reflect on experiences that resulted in feelings of joy, accomplishment and freedom. What may result from this action is a continued effort to seek more moments of joy and peace, knowing that your personal experiences are not void of fulfilling contributions to your life.
Methods for creating a deeper moment of reflection: How to practice daily gratitude:
Dedicate a journal toward gratitude writing – If you are the type who has to buy something in order to commit to it, invest in a daily planner, which prompts you to write down your happy thoughts daily. We recommend a few options ranging from $25-75 each:
*You can also get a journal from your favorite craft shop and dedicate it solely to this daily reflection.
Develop a daily ritual – Dedicate 5-10 minutes every morning or evening in addition to your normal daily routine (meditation, prayer, etc.) in which you mentally pause to jot down the things you are grateful for that day. If you couple it with another personal habit of yours, you are more likely to adopt a new behavior and new way of life.
Categorize your thought process around the personal goals for your life. Try sectioning off your page by areas of importance to you (not the areas of importance to others). Based on each category (personal health, career, financial goals, spirituality, relationships, etc.), recall any moments in which you appreciated the effort of another person, or the subtle signs you may have received throughout the day related to that area of focus. You may find that you have more than 1-2 things to be grateful for in a given day.
Benefits of practicing daily gratitude:
Learning how to gratify others Staying present in the moment Gaining clarity on personal goals Assessing how your time is spent toward reaching those goals Strengthening your vision and spiritual will Increasing ability to use emotional empathy
Now that you know how to turn this annual habit of Thanksgiving into a daily ritual of gratitude, how will you improve your thought process, your personal dreams and overall mental and emotional health? The simple answer is to grab a pen and paper and start noting moments in your life that you appreciate, from the moment the sun rises to the moment that you lay your head down to bed. Try attempting a 10-day challenge until the habit is developed. Before you know it, you will be a pro at daily gratitude and advocating it to all of your friends.