6 Ways to Practice Gratitude Every Day
“The unthankful heart…discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” – Henry Ward Beecher
Living a lifestyle of gratitude has rewards. Gratitude is a seed you sow; the more grateful you are, the more you open yourself to continually receive more and more. A grateful heart and attitude are also good for you. When you live in gratitude you will have less stress, anxiety and depression and more peace, joy, enthusiasm, optimism, energy and creativity.
Making gratitude part of your life is like any other new habit; it requires some effort but is well worth it. Just like a muscle, gratitude needs to be exercised. Start with these six ideas for practicing gratitude and work from there.
1. Begin with yourself. Start expressing gratitude for the things you take for granted: your health, eyesight, hearing, breathing, energy and strength. Focus on what is good!
2. Focus on others. Express your gratitude for your loved ones and those you cross paths with every day/week, such as cashiers, the person who makes your coffee and who holds the door for you. Look for ways to encourage and be gracious to others. Say thank you often and even volunteer to help.
3. Look around you. Begin noticing the things that make your life easier or more comfortable: lights, heat, AC, a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, food, water, clothing and so on. What would your life be like without these things? Many people around the world live without some or all of those things.
4. Go outside. Notice the warmth of the sun, the cool of the shade, the light of the moon and stars and the beauty of colorful flowers, trees and birds. God’s creations are amazing!
5. Write it down. Start a gratitude journal and intentionally write down at least three to five things daily that you’re thankful for. Write a thank you note to anyone who gives you something, does something for you or makes a kind gesture toward you. Send out a note of appreciation and thanks to someone every week. People don’t know you’re grateful if you don’t tell them.
6. Watch your words. Stop grumbling, complaining, criticizing, gossiping and fault-finding. Stop speaking and thinking about what you don’t like or don’t have. If you aren’t grateful for what you do have, how can God give you anymore? Instead, start speaking words of love, kindness, thankfulness and praise. What you pay attention to grows and expands. Choose to be thankful in advance, step out in faith and give God something to work with and multiply back to you! Remember, no matter what your circumstances, someone is always worse off than you are.
“God inhabits the praises of His people.” Psalm 22:3
Challenge yourself for the next 30 days to daily exercise your gratitude muscle. You will be amazed at what happens!