Gratitude can be simply defined as appreciating the good things in your life.
It doesn’t always seem simple, though. When things are hectic or stressful, finding the silver lining can be challenging.
However, learning how to embrace gratitude can significantly boost your happiness.
Life gets easier when we are happy.
Being grateful offers a host of other benefits you’re probably not aware of. Let’s take a closer look at the concept, the ways it can improve your life and how to practice it.
There are many definitions of gratitude.
Some people believe it’s a feeling or emotion and others look at it as more of a mood. Some folks believe gratitude is a personality trait a person exhibits. These can all be correct.
In essence, gratitude elicits satisfaction and appreciation in a person through feelings, actions or even inherent qualities. However, even those of us who may be more inclined to feel grateful on a regular basis through our glass-half-full-optimism likely need to work on evoking such an outlook.
Gratitude can be viewed as a practice or something you perform regularly. Most people practice something because it benefits them.
This is true of gratitude. As with other practices, you’ll get better at demonstrating gratitude the more you work at it.
Benefits of Embracing Gratitude
There are many benefits of gratitude; many of them have been scientifically proven.
Once you begin to understand these, chances are good that you’ll see why it’s so important to develop a grateful mindset.
Gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health.
Research has shown it to improve relaxation, sleep quality and energy levels.
Being thankful for your blessings can enhance your emotional wellness.
You’ll deal better in crisis situations and find you’re more resilient when you’re able to look on the bright side.
This can contribute to better relationships, too.
Appreciating the positives in life can simply make you feel happier.
Ways to Practice Gratitude
Recognizing your blessings may not come easily at first, but there are some ways to help make it a habit and a regular part of your routine.
Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the most convenient and impactful methods for cultivating appreciation. In this practice, you’ll write down three things each day that you’re grateful for, which makes it easier to notice and recognize those good things. It helps to say them out loud too.
Meditation has also been shown to help. Meditation is an active practice that involves deepening our concentration and returning to the present moment. Be more present, live in the now.
Thank someone each day, for even the smallest thing, opens your eyes and heart to abundance.
Giving back and doing good for others can provide tremendous perspective, as well.
Here is a quick exercise you can do to get started on your Gratitude practice:
5 Minute Guided Meditation for Gratitude
Now you have a better idea of just what making a concerted effort to count your blessings can do for your life.
Embracing and expressing gratitude are more important than many of us realize.
What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!
It can be easy to become negative and cynical toward the world without even noticing. With the continuous exposure to tragedy and injustice that we are exposed to daily, we can quickly start to experience our own heartache and distress.
Not only is this negative attitude preventing you from enjoying your life fully, but it can also have a significant impact on your health and environment.
Here are five powerful ways that you can begin to cultivate a positive mindset and change your life.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
There are times when a single event can ruin your entire day, and an unpleasant interaction can overshadow the enjoyable parts of your day.
With this awareness in mind, you can intentionally focus on the good parts of the day by keeping a gratitude journal. Every night, before you go to bed, write down five things that you’re grateful for and see how your attitude changes.
2. Reframe Your Challenges
You have to get into the mindset that there are no dead ends, only re-directions.
Don’t let uncontrollable events render you helpless. Learn to control the effort you put in and have fun with challenges that you encounter. Embrace challenges as a new adventure rather than attempting to resist an experience for growth.
3. Use Positive Words to Describe Your Life
The words you use have a lot more power than you think.
How you talk about your life is how your life will be. Your mind hears what you say about yourself and your life. If you describe your life as boring, hectic, chaotic, that’s is exactly how it will be. However, if you use the words familiar, involved, or lively, you will see your life in an entirely different light.
4. Don’t Get Dragged into Other People’s Complaints
A study conducted by the Warsaw School of Social Psychology determined that complaining leads to lower moods, negative emotions, and a decrease in life satisfaction and optimism.
Don’t let other’s pessimism bring you down. If you don’t join in with the complaining, others will start to complain less as a result.
5. Create a Morning Mindset Routine
The outcome of your day can be directly affected by your thoughts and actions when you wake up.
Mornings set the mood for the day, which makes it imperative to create a mindset that is positive. Start your day with excitement and enthusiasm and see how it affects the rest of your day.
A shift in your mindset from negative to positive can have a dramatic impact on your life. Not only does a positive mindset trigger optimism, but it can help you achieve your goals.
Start cultivating a positive mindset and watch how your life changes for the better.
You won’t regret it!
Let me know if you found this list useful, I would love to hear from you!
You’ve probably heard of both meditations and affirmations, though you may be uncertain of just what they are and how they work. They may even seem a bit too new age for you, but don’t underestimate their power just yet.
These two practices are actually quite simple to add to your routine or even to use in a particularly stressful moment to gain perspective.
Take a look below to learn about how to use gratitude meditations and affirmations to boost your spirit anytime.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is really just a practice of taking some quiet time to be mindful and focus your attention on a particular thought or issue.
It’s a moment of silent reflection that focuses you on the here and now.
Gratitude meditations involve focusing your thoughts on being grateful for the particulars of your life or situation, even the ones that may not seem so positive.
Your gratitude journaling can be considered a meditation. Any contemplative, purposeful time spent focused on being grateful can fall into this category.
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations are short, concise and positive sentences that are meant to purposefully affect the ways in which we think and feel.
These can be in both conscious and unconscious ways. What we think greatly influences how we feel and behave. Introducing these positive messages into your life on a regular basis can help you to internalize them and begin living accordingly.
Gratitude affirmations focus specifically on being grateful and appreciative.
How to Use Them
Both meditation and affirmation are easy to put into practice.
They can be practised almost any time and anywhere. When you think of meditation, a long, intensive ritual may come to mind. In actuality, you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating in order to reap the benefits.
Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes, 5 to 10 min, and contemplating on what you’re grateful for can help to center you and to provide a new perspective, which often will lead to feeling better.
If you want something more structure or have more time, you can look up guided gratitude meditations online or grab a meditation app to try.
When it comes to affirmations, a good practice might be to combine them with your gratitude journal. Write down positive messages that apply to your life and help to inspire or motivate you.
Perhaps you want to keep them in a separate journal or store them online. Then you can pull out your collection of affirmations for a pick-me-up when you need one.
Gratitude meditations and affirmations are simple tools that offer a big return. They take only a few minutes a day to practice, and you really don’t need any special equipment.
I absolutely love the videos from Les and Sarah Raymond, they are the founders of The Mindful Movement. I’ve been following them for a while now and I love their work in helping others live a more mindful life, deepening their awareness and sense of gratitude.
Give them a try when you feel you could use an injection of gratitude into your life.
How do you boost your spirit? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Let’s talk about forming new habits. But first: What is the definition of a habit?
A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. Habit formation is the process by which a behaviour, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual.
I’m sure you will agree that there are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we just created new habits. We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behaviour for the better and create new habits for ourselves.
This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier, getting up earlier and drinking more water. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk. Or it could be work-related, or spiritual, or…
We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging. A good habit is a key to achieving health, success, financial stability, retirement and whatever you dream of achieving.
Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. Doing the work requires discipline.
Robin Sharma says: “It takes 66 days to install a new habit before it becomes automatic.” 66 days! Can you believe it?
Some people develop a new habit in 30 days or less, but the important point is, it’s no joke, it takes time and repetition to develop a new habit.
You need to have the can-do attitude to make a change.
If you are serious about creating that change for the better, then you are in the right place. I’m about to show you the 3 easy steps I follow to create change in my life.
Now… Let’s break down these 3 steps to make it even easier to follow until we’ve internalized the new behaviour and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
1. Decide What You Want To Do
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. What do you want to change? Be as specific as possible.
We all have behaviours we want to improve. Think about that one thing that you want to change, remember to be specific. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more, that’s too broad. Instead, say something like “I will go for a 30-minute walk every single day” or “I will get up at 5:00 am every morning”.
Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.
2. Remind Yourself To Get It Done
You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits. Do you know why? Because it’s easier to do what you have always done!
If you always do what you have always done, you’ll stay the same way.
Change is hard, it requires patience and persistence! Don’t give up! I know all the excuses, believe me, I’ve used these many times too. Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets too busy and you don’t feel like doing the new thing.
This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while.
Remember WHY you want to create this new habit, focus on the end goal! Stop making excuses! Excuses prevent you from living the life you want. Just do it!
3. Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
It takes some time before a new behaviour becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage.
Even before the new behaviour becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders. Make that daily walk part of your after-dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack. Do what it takes to create the change!
For me, getting up early in the morning is something I routinely do, it has become a habit. I’ve been waking up early for so many years, even when I want to sleep in, I can’t and instead of being annoyed I just embrace it. I love that!
Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.
It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s fun!
Say that to yourself out loud a few times and I’m sure you will get all pumped up to start creating new positive habits. LOL 🙂
What new habits would you like to create starting today?
Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Here are six simple hacks that will make it a little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.
1. Schedule It And Put It On The To-Do List
Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to get that daily walk in.
Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically.
2. Make It Public and Be Accountable
Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.
You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.
3. Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have
Whenever possible, add the new habit to the one you already have.
For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4 pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea.
It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.
4. Make Slipups Costly
Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put five dollars in the jar.
It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk.
For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or hand it over to your spouse to go spend on him or herself.
5. Find A Partner and Help Each Other Along
Find someone with the same or similar goal.
This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going.
It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.
6. Make It A Group Challenge
If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local.
Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.
Give these simple little hacks a try.
Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support.
These hacks will help you get started on your journey to living a more balanced, stress-free life.