Comparison steals our joy. This simple realization changed my life.
In the past, I often looked with envy on those who had more of what I thought I wanted in my life. The blessings I received were quickly forgotten as I focused on what I did not possess. Oblivious to all I had to be thankful for, I allowed my heart to be filled with discontentment.
I’ve since learned a grateful heart turns what I have into enough. Gratefulness instills the humility to see the good in my life is a gift – not my own doing.
Reflect on today’s wins -however big or small- and you will be more optimistic, resilient, and satisfied with life. In fact, as little as three minutes of gratitude dispersed throughout your day has been shown to rewire the brain. More eloquently put:
every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until, finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace. – Henri Nouwen
Essentially, being grateful makes you more grateful. Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude into your day.
- Start journaling. Spending a couple of minutes in the morning and evening to reflect on my day has been one of the most rewarding habits. I like to prime the morning with a couple gratitudes and go to bed on a high note by writing down three great memories from that day. If you don’t already have a journal, I used this one to help jumpstart my journaling habit.
- Put people first. Remembering people you are grateful for instead of things has more of an impact on your attitude. Additionally, the intentional appreciation of others will not go unnoticed by those around you. Your relationships will thrive because of it.
- With or without you. Another effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without someone or something.
- Be detailed. It is more effective to elaborate on a few things you are grateful for instead of trying to tally a long list. I usually write a brief description and expound on the thought in my head because I am a slow writer.
- Focus on intentions. Contemplate what you are thankful for and consider how someone brought that goodness into your life at a cost to themselves. This will open you up to a world of good will towards others.
- Take a deep breath. If you feel stressed, take a minute to remember what you are thankful for. Shifting your attention away from your stressors can reduce anxiety and depression.
- Savor the unexpected. Record events that were unforeseen or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
- Take a walk. Go for a stroll outside and appreciate how your body is working and healthy. While you are out, slow down and acknowledge the beauty of the nature or neighborhood around you.
- Ask someone what was the best part of their day. Get others involved with your thankfulness. Gratitude is contagious, and your united gratefulness will fuel off of each other.
- Don’t just go through the motions. Be careful not to get caught mindlessly writing a list. Take time to appreciate each item you tally and let the feeling of gratitude sink in.
Make a commitment to start feeling grateful today. You will not be disappointed. Comment below to let me know what you think about gratitude.
Call to Action
If you found this article helpful, check out my free 3-Day Contentment Challenge. You will learn 3 simple techniques to help you recognize the source of your discontentment and eliminate it.
a contented heart is a grateful heart, and a heart of gratitude is a fountain from which life’s richest blessings flow. -Samuel Pipim