Practising gratitude is not always easy. Especially not when we find ourselves in difficult situations and are concentrating on our problems and what we are lacking rather than on what we already have. Over this year, I started using a gratitude journal and looked into other ways of expressing gratitude in my life. In this article, I will share with you how being more grateful has helped me and why I believe it can also help you in your personal development and wellbeing.
So how does the gratitude journal work? It is really easy. All you have to do is list three things you are grateful for at the moment in time. In the best case scenario you keep adding to it daily. Gratitude journals are available in various stores (I bought mine from kikki.K). However, if you have a spare journal lying around at home you can of course use that too.
To start with it may feel a little weird and the same things may keep coming up in your head, but with time and a little practice you will be astonished how many things you can think of that you are grateful for. They can be the smallest things. Ask yourself: Am I happy and grateful to have this in my life? If the answer is yes, list it.
I love listing food I had, people I talked to, books I read, purchases I made etc. Of course it is great to think about the big picture too: the country you live in, your family, your opportunities in life etc. But it is all the little things added up that really make our life worth living, isn’t it? And that’s what a gratitude journal makes you aware of. That’s why I love using it. Over time, you will end up with a collection of many big and small things, animals, circumstances, moments and people you enjoy or enjoyed having in your life. I encourage you to give it a go!
Other Ways of Practising Gratitude
The gratitude journal is one amazing way of keeping track of things you are grateful for and being able to access them on a sad day or during unhappy times. But as always, there is more than one way to get somewhere. If you are not the journal type, you can say three things to yourself you are grateful for each morning. In the bed, in the shower, during breakfast – whenever it suits you. While it is great to be able to look back on things in a journal, gratitude really is about living in the moment. Enjoying life now. Being grateful now.
Simply thinking about things you are grateful for in the morning will change the way you think about your whole day. It will shift your focus on positive thoughts and, thus, will give you positive energy for the day ahead. This will also take some adjustment and some mornings you may have to “force” your brain to shift to positivity – but it will be worth it in the end!
Other ways of practising gratitude can be yoga and meditation. I finished 2018 with a 6- week yoga beginner’s course. Although I haven’t had that much practice yet, I have really been enjoying the slow and thoughtful part of yoga at the end. This is usually combined with a reading on gratitude. One time, the reading went through all our body parts individually, encouraging to touch, feel or breathe into them. I left the building with a deep gratitude for my breath, brain and in general functioning body. Something we usually take for granted.
Personal Goals and Thoughts
Meditation also concentrates on individual body parts, slowing down your body and being grateful for the present moment. It is something I have only had little practice with so far, but definitely one of my goals for 2019.
Overall, I can say that starting to practise gratitude has shifted my life in a positive way. Not only am I more aware of time and thankful for the present moment, but I also realise how lucky I am to be able to live my life. In this sense, practising gratitude also has a financial aspect as I often question now whether I need to buy a certain item considering how many things I already own. Get to own.
What are your thoughts on practising gratitude and do you have any goals relating to it for 2019? I would love to hear them.