Gratitude is a beautiful thing. It can put life into perspective, act as an expression of love, and also raise your vibe. Before watching the documentary “The Secret,” I had no idea how the energy I was putting out into the world had become a direct reflection of my life. I considered myself grateful but my attitude said otherwise. I would complain often (about my life and other people) and always look at the glass half empty. Because of my attitude and ungratefulness, I continued to attract more negativity into my life in the form of self-doubt, negative relationships, and unhealthy behaviors.
In the past I viewed gratitude as a form of manners. Saying thank you is the easiest way we can express gratitude but actually feeling and acting grateful is what I’m going to talk about. When I started to feel grateful for the little things and made the effort to practice gratitude daily, my negative outlook slowly started shifting to a more positive and loving one. When we stop to think of the blessings in our life we can start to feel love. What’s worked for me is being very specific and allowing myself to feel.
For example, when I open my eyes I realize how it feels to wake up in a warm bed. I feel cozy, protected, and safe in my home. Why is that a blessing or something to feel good about? There are so many people in this world who wake up without a roof over their head, without the feeling of safety or protection. When we use this technique with the little things in life (i.e. your job, food in the fridge, loving friends/family) we can start to actually feel grateful and realize how amazing our lives are right at this moment.
Expressing gratitude is also another way you can raise your vibe, especially if you’re feeling negative. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, stop for a moment and reset. In those moments of negativity think of at least one thing you can be grateful for. It may be hard to find, but there is always something! One thing I remind myself of that I often take for granted is my ability to breathe. My breath signifies my life. Without it I would not be here. As hard as things can be, we have a chance to make them better and without air in our lungs to breathe, it’s not possible!
Although negativity can take root from certain situations I’ve noticed the society we live in can chip away at gratitude. We’re told that happiness and contentment is found in having more money, things, friends, clothes, etc. Which can make us feel like our lives and this present moment are not enough. To avoid being sucked into that lie I keep myself aligned with an attitude of gratitude with a couple different habits. These habits have helped me stay grounded and become a more positive person. I’m hopeful they will help you too!
Purchase a journal that you will specifically use to write out what you’re grateful for. Everyday write a minimum of 3 things you’re grateful for. I usually do this first thing in the morning but you can do this anytime during the day or as a reflection before you go to bed.
Write down specific life events or things that you truly have felt grateful for. You can also write 3 things out and put them in your jar instead of a journal. When you’re having a bad day you can grab a note from the jar to help you put things back into perspective.
Praying to God and thanking him every morning for your day is one easy way to express gratitude. If you already do this I encourage you to start thanking God for the little things throughout your day too! Whether it’s for a yummy meal, a hangout with your best friend, being able to purchase a book, or having a car to drive. Constantly thanking God not only expresses gratitude but will help you build a stronger relationship with him by including him more throughout your day.
Gratitude through service
One of my favorite ways of expressing gratitude is giving back and helping others. Get involved and volunteer! When we help others it gives us a sense of purpose and allows us to puts someone else’s needs before our own. Pick an organization or cause you can stand behind, contact them and select a date to get involved. If you can make volunteering part of your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly routine please do! Choosing to volunteer is an incredible choice that will allow you to make a positive impact and contribute to something bigger than yourself.
Random act of gratitude
Surprising a friend/family out of the blue with a gift is another one of my favorites. Maybe it looks like buying your mom flowers, your friend tickets to an event, or showing up to the office with coffee. Those unexpected little things can make someone’s day!