The art of practicing gratitude. We’ve heard about the importance, we may have even tried it out. But does it seem like something isn’t working?
How could you practice gratitude all wrong? It seems like such a simple little task. Buy a journal, keep a list, repeat. Not too difficult.
But let me ask you this – when’s the last time the practice of gratitude changed your life?
If it’s the highest form of healing then shouldn’t we be noticing a difference from this practice alone? This is the question I found myself asking after I attempted for the hundredth time to start a daily practice of gratitude.
It wasn’t working – even my accountability partner didn’t help it stick. It just made me feel guilty and stressed for not completely yet another list.
Funny isn’t it? That something so easy could be one of the greatest struggles. I mean if I can wake up and workout at 5:15 am four mornings a week, why can’t I practice gratitude?
- Maybe I had it all backward?
- Was I was doing it wrong?
- Maybe I didn’t know the system?
All the things I asked and all the stuff I’m answering on today’s podcast. When gratitude isn’t working or isn’t sticking – listen here.
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we’re doing it wrong
Gratitude has never been something that has come easy to me – let me re-phrase that. The practice of daily gratitude has never come easily to me. I’m mostly aware of my blessings those things I’m grateful for, but I don’t easily feel the elevation that it’s intended to bring.
That’s why I become so passionate about this topic.
Because in health we know that changing the mind changes the entire biochemical structure for good or for bad. And often it’s the simple things like becoming more positive that could give you more energy, help you shed the extra weight and even prevent you from getting sick.
So why is something that should be so much easier than choosing between donuts or some eggs so difficult?
What I found is that we’re practicing it all wrong.
the right way
Maybe the only way to practice gratitude is to change who you’re becoming. You see so much of our focus is on what we do. Write the list, buy the flowers, pay it forward and yet so little is about who we are.
But what I’ve found is nothing changes when we don’t change who we are.
Like all things in life, it’s less about what we do and more about who we are becoming.
Which holds the secrets we’ve been seeking all along – less doing more becoming.
There are a lot of ways to do that, but it first starts with an inward dive of who you are and then making gratitude a part of that. Inside the podcast, we talk more about making it who you are.
For now, let’s get to the five practical ways to make gratitude a part of who you are:
1. Make it Personal
There are a lot of great ideas on how to practice gratitude like keeping a list in a pretty notebook or buying flowers for a friend you’ve meant to catch up with, and while those are sound good, maybe it’s a little too out of character for you. You’re just not the journal type, and flowers aren’t your jam.
The truth is, while there are a million ways to practice gratitude you won’t unless it’s from you.
2. Start Small
Even if “go-big-or-go-home” isn’t necessarily your slogan, most still tend to have the underlying awareness that if you’re going to do something you either do it all the way, or you might as well not even try. I mean it sounds like an oxymoron to think that you could fail at being thankful but we’d have to guess a lot of us fall into that category.
Know, gratitude isn’t how big you go, how long your list is or even if it costs you money. Remember it’s less about what you do and more about who you’re becoming. Start looking at the little things in life and doing the little rhythms that align with gratitude. Sometimes all it takes is one small gesture to change your perspective completely.
3. Use Social Media
You probably assumed we’d tell you to get off social media – well that can be helpful too. But more than just getting off social media – which is a very unreal expectation for most people – why not use it for good? Let Instagram and Facebook hold you accountable by snapping a picture or writing on what makes you grateful.
Hold yourself accountable there and let yourself be filled with others doing the same thing. It’s incredible how different social media can look through a different lens. Know you don’t have to get rid of it but transition how you use it.
4. Take a Sabbatical
Even though we just told you to use social media – it’s all about balance. Even outside of social media, we’d reckon to guess that all of us could use a break. To create space to put work down, set aside the list, stash away your phone and look up. Create space in your weekly calendar, whether for a few hours a day, an entire day a week or a full weekend and take a sabbatical.
Whether that’s from work, your phone or both create space to live life must automatically mean you’re living more. And as they say, the more you live, the more grateful you become.
5. Give In Ways You Love
Gratitude isn’t based on what you get but on how much you give. Interesting isn’t it? That giving, whether time, money or even a few kind words can make all the difference in your perspective. Heck, a smile will do.
It doesn’t take much, but choosing to give of something you value to someone can enhance your form of gratitude ten-fold. There is power in giving, and given it’s the season of giving, get creative in how you give. Make it personal, maybe even start small, but get out there an give.
In this season remember this.
Gratitude is less about who you are and more about who you are becoming.
Let it be a version of you. But for real – take some time to ponder who you are, what does gratitude mean and look like to you and how can you do more of that?
P.S. I’m truly in the heart of who I am grateful for you. For being here, sticking through this, being willing to learn and grow and go deep and mostly for letting me be me. You’re honestly the best!
All of the resources and links we talked about in today’s show are linked below.
- The Year of Living Happy by Alli Worthington
- The Five Year Journal
- How To Create a Healthy Morning Routine
- The Enneagram: From a Christian Perspective
- Rheti Enneagram Test
- Remember God
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