With Thanksgiving just having passed and Christmas right around the corner I find that this is the time of year that I reflect on what I am grateful for, and as I am getting older I find that I realize there are truly so many things to be grateful for. It is very important to express gratitude in life every day because it truly makes you happier and healthier. Practicing gratitude every day can help brighten your emotions, feel more alive, express more compassion and kindness, and build stronger relationships.
The moment I realized I needed to practice gratitude was when I felt like I was in a slump for months. I just woke up every day feeling really down and just was negative about everything. Then I listened to a podcast called Ted Talks Daily where a psychologist was discussing three ways to practice gratitude and how it can help change the way you live. I am going to discuss the three ways she discusses how to practice gratitude.
The first is “don’t be picky; appreciate everything”. This was the first practice that when I started doing it I really felt a huge shift in my attitude. I started to realize that if you are picky about everything it leads you to have a very negative outlook on things. Appreciate the small things. Appreciate a beautiful sunny day. Appreciate a good cup of coffee or a good glass of wine after a long day. Appreciate it anytime with friends and family. It can even be as small as a really good shower or lighting your favorite candle. There is nothing too small to be grateful for.
The second is to practice mindfulness. Every day you should sit down and think of at least five things that you are grateful for, and the idea is to be able to visualize those things and sit with those feelings of gratitude. Over time this will help you feel happier and more grateful. I find that every day I am grateful for my health, my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and then it changes with each day. Some days I am grateful for the weather, or for my education, or for being able to exercise and move my body.
Lastly, she talks about finding gratitude in your challenges which I believe is the hardest step to do. It took me practicing gratitude for a while to understand that I am grateful for every challenge that I have been through. Our past experiences have shaped us into who we are today. Whether good or bad, whether you wish you could go back and change anything, our experiences are what help us grow and learn. We should be grateful for that and that we have the opportunity to become better versions of ourselves every day.
Since I have started to practice gratitude I have noticed a positive shift in my outlook on life. I feel so much happier, positive, and healthier. Practicing gratitude has helped me appreciate everything that I have in life and that has led me to be more compassionate towards others. Life is such a beautiful gift and we only begin to look at it that way once we start to express our gratitude towards everything it has to offer no matter how big or small it may be. So sit with yourself every day for a few minutes and reflect on what you are grateful for because you may find that you have more to appreciate than you think.