Gratitude should be an everyday practice which we express to relationships around us and ourselves! It can easily be forgotten about on a day-to-day basis but easily remembered in a tough time. I challenge you to practice gratitude everyday.
This Sunday 10th May is Mother's Day, a perfect time to reflect your gratitude for the mother's and women in your life.
When was the last time you thanked, reflected, and expressed your gratitude towards someone in your life. A close relative or friend you don't see enough, a form of mindfulness, done often, can have a positive benefit on yours and their life!
By understanding how to express gratitude in small ways, you can make big positive changes to your life, especially when you or others are feeling down or having a bad day.
If you've been wondering how to practice gratitude, look no further! We've got some simple suggestions you can follow below.
9 Simple Gratitude Tips:
Avoid Negative Thoughts
Focus On What You Have
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Give People Your Full Attention
Give Someone A Compliment
Let Someone Know You Love Them
Gratitude For Yourself
Before expressing gratitude for others, put yourself first. If you ever experience going through a tough time, having a bad day, or feeling low take a moment to reflect on what you have.
"Today I am thankful for the roof over my head, good quality sleep, fresh nutrience dense foods, the love I receive, and my strong immune system during this cold weather."
1. Avoid Negative Thoughts
We all experience negative thoughts whether it's to ourselves, others or certain circumstances. This is our subconscious mind, is the non-analytical part of our brain that's fully developed the moment we arrive here on earth. It's all about feelings and instincts and erupting into ear-piercing temper tantrums in the middle of the supermarkets. It's also where we store all our early, outside information we're taught.
It is all too easy to fall into a pattern of overthinking and worse case scenario. These negative thoughts can be unpleasant and counterproductive - and in some cases, it can lead to chronic depression.
Try to recognise when you have negative thoughts and avoid this by consciously being aware about what you are doing and stop yourself, draw your attention to a positive thought about yourself or the positive side to the situation you maybe overthinking.
2. Focus On What You Have
During COVID-19 everyone has struggled in some shape or form. Try to be grateful for what you have rather than what you don't. Take a moment to accept how you feel and move on quickly, be sure not to dwell, unfortunately the world is going through a tough time and this is life which can be unfair at times.
Recognise what you have currently and reflect on how grateful you are to have that. Take a deep breathe, and begin to plan and work towards your next goal. Control what you can control.
Grateful For Your Life
3. Keep A Gratitude Journal
Whether it's writing a goal or something you need to remember you use the left prefrontal cortex in your brain. This is the part of your brain that explores imagination, logic, and reasoning part of what you are wanting to achieve.
Secondly, why you must achieve this? This is the emotional reasoning, limbic part of your brain that tie's directly to the motor cortex part of the brain (taking action) and also connected to your motional part of your brain that realises that dopamine and oxytocin (feel good and love hormone) if you share it with your friends to achieve goals and dreams.
I encourage you to write down a few things each day you are grateful for. It won't take longer than 5 minutes and it's a great way to practice mindfulness. Writing it down and then talking about it with friends and family is a great way of training your mind to see the good in every day.
As little as a smile, is probably one of the easiest ways to express gratitude to yourself and others. It's connecting you in that present moment to engage and thank others, even if it is just someone you walk past on the street.
A smile can make you feel good and act as a gentle gesture of gratitude, from the start, during, and end of your day.
5. Affirmation List
Positive affirmations are a regular practice that are lasting, long-term changes to the way you think and feel. They implement positive practices of acceptance and gratitude.
Before researching affirmation ideas online, sit down and write down some affirmations which are important to you. Each morning before you get up read one and write it at the top of your diary. For example "I continue my education throughout my life. I am happy to expand and grow."
Affirmations are a great way to practice daily gratitude for what you have in your life!
Grateful For Others
6. Give People Your Full Attention
Not giving your full attention to someone can be a form of disrespect. Notice you may be on your phone or head stuck in a laptop brushing off a reply, this can become a poor habit so many of us.
Putting away technology, stop being distracted and be present for that moment, it will only take you 1 minute.
This is an expression of your appreciation for them and shows you value their presence and what they are saying.
7. Listen Carefully
A form of gratitude which is highly underestimated, listening. When someone is talking we might listen to our own internal conversation and as a result, comprehend what they are saying declines. This is due to our own thoughts and opinions that we seek out of every conversation to support our own beliefs.
Take the time to consciously listen and understand someone, as it shows willingness to understand what the person is saying. Understanding does not mean we have to agree but we recognise, respect, and appreciate the others view point.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey
8. Give Someone A Compliment
You are thinking about it but why is it so hard to compliment someone? Why is it too much of an effort? It is something we all may do, too often.
Next time you ask a shop keeper in the supermarket "where are the canned chickpeas?", notice the persons name, recognise them, acknowledge them by saying "thank you Sue, have a nice day." Congratulations, you have just made Sue's day. I bet you 1 in 3 people mention her name and acknowledge her for who she is.
There is so much more value in commenting on a person's kindness, service, and compassion. Make someones day today and remember the positive's in the day over the negatives.
9. Let Someone Know You Love Them
Love can be overlooked - sayings such as "love you" as a quick goodbye. Simply telling someone, "I am thankful for you" or expressing "I love you" is so important. This one takes the cake.