The Positive Power Of Practicing Gratitude
“What, rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive, for whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead; There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee, but thou slew'st Tybalt; there are thou happy too: The law that threaten'd death becomes thy friend and turns it to exile; there art thou happy: A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back!” Father Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet It’s not always easy to feel grateful for the lives we have, especially, if like poor Romeo, things around us seem to be unravelling and out of our control. Life takes its toll on all of us; from the mom who is surviving on four hours sleep a night whilst trying to run a business, a home and raise her children right, to the highly paid Marketing Director who feels over worked and under appreciated.
When things get tough, it’s easy to feel like crawling under a comforter with a giant bag of Reeses Pieces and the Sex and the City boxset. So why then would you want to start a gratitude practice? Focusing our minds on the positive, counting our blessings and being grateful for small (but often mighty) things can be a guiding light; lifting our spirits, comforting our souls and helping us to work through times of hurt, stress, upset and even anger. Think a gratitude practice is a bit airy fairy? Well listen up because science says that gratitude is good for you. Research has shown that gratitude practices can fire up four different neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins; all of which make us feel good.
Ready to get started with a gratitude practice? Here’s how.
- Commit to the process
Like any good habit, you have to work at practicing gratitude, there will be days when you wake up, the sun is shining and the world seems wondrous. On these days it’s easy to be grateful for the world around us and the people in it. But there will be some days when you just can’t be bothered; you’re tired, you’re busy and y’know grumbling is just easier! Practicing gratitude is never more important than when you feel the least like being grateful.
- Find somewhere to record your thoughts
Ok, so you’ve decided to do it, so let’s get started! First up, create yourself a special place to record your thoughts. Treat yourself to a beautiful journal, start a new file on your computer or even create a board in Pinterest. Then set aside time in the day for you to record the things you are grateful for. If you’re a morning person, you might like to write in your journal first thing to get you inspired and ready for the day. If you’re short on time in the morning, spend some time during your lunch break pinning images that remind you of what you have to be grateful for.
- Notice the little things
If you’re finding it tough to find things to be grateful in your day, start with something ultra-simple like:
- The air in your lungs and the food in your belly
- The car, bus or bicycle that gets you where you need to be
- The hug your child gave you in bed this morning
- The friends you love spending time with
- Spread the gratitude love!
Making other people happy and seeing that happiness is one of easiest and most gratifying ways to instantly boost your own happiness. Think about how you could help other people to feel happy today; pay someone a compliment, hold the door open, leave a generous tip, or tell someone they did a great job. You’ll feel wonderful for having made someone’s day.
- Plan a family get-together
Often we’re so busy living that we forget to spend quality time with the people who make our lives worth living for. Don’t wait for the next birthday, anniversary or wedding; plan a family occasion simply because you’re grateful that you have family to spend time with. Having fun together will not only strengthen the bond between you, but you’ll come away feeling fabulously positive for having bought the people you love together.
The Bohemian Mama Gratitude Quiz!
Bring more positive into your life with our super fun and easy gratitude quiz. Simply answer the questions below and let the positivity flow!
- List three positive things that happened to you today
- List three wonderful people you are super grateful to have in your life
- Name three things that make you happy
- List three places that make you feel happy
- Who did you make happy today?
- Who will you make happy tomorrow?
Written by The Bohemian Mama