“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”
― Germany Kent
Embracing gratitude to create more abundance and clarity will require creating new habits, commitment and focus. Here are twelve ideas for maximizing your efforts, to make your new lifestyle as joyful and stress-free as possible.
1.Practice Gratitude Waking and Falling Asleep
The quickest way to get into the habit of gratitude: Find three things to be grateful for, first thing in the morning—before even opening your eyes. And when your head hits the pillow, think of three things you were grateful for that happened during the day. (And feel free to add more, if you like!)
2. Find Small Things You Take for Granted
Sometimes the things we should be most grateful for, we miss. Instead, we take them for granted.
Looking for these small, over-looked details of our lives helps teach us to be more aware, so that our appreciation for all the wonders of life naturally grows—including what is wonderful about others.
3. Be Grateful for Your Business
What happened today in your business or at work that made you happy or made you feel enriched? Which client had a breakthrough or made you feel appreciated? Which team member came through for you, or caught a potentially costly mistake?
Don’t be one of the millions who gush about their personal lives and treat their business, clients and staff as part of the furniture. A little appreciation and gratitude go a long, long way to increasing our enjoyment of life in all its facets.
One of my first bosses, and one of my favourites. Would always, without fail tell us how well we had performed and thank us for our hard work. It always made me feel appreciated, even though I was getting paid and that should be enough, that little extra sentiment meant that I left feeling happier – even after a bad day.
I recently met up with this boss and told her how this affected me and made me feel about my day.
4. Reframe Your Conversation
Ever catch yourself complaining about someone or something? Ever berate yourself with negative self-talk?
Don’t. No matter how justified the former might be, you hurt yourself when you fall into negative thoughts. If something is wrong, tell the person directly and do your best to resolve it.
Don’t complain in a forum or gossip with your best friend.
As for negative self-talk, if you don’t talk kindly to yourself, how are other people expected too.
5. Forgive Yourself, as well as Others
Forgiveness is a wonderful healing tool, especially when you let go of old griefs and long-standing hurts. It often helps us more than it helps those we forgive. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. You can forgive someone, but not allow them repeat hurtful behavior. You can forgive someone, recognising they are stuck in a dark place, even when they are not sorry.
Forgiveness is liberating.
It is an act; not a feeling … just as you are not your mistakes.
You are a whole person who loves and evolves and grows. So, among all the other hurts and humiliations and mistakes you are forgiving, be sure to forgive yourself too.
6. Write Thank You Letters
Think of people in your life who make your life better. Write them thank-you letters … even if you never send them.
Putting in words what you appreciate about the people in your life (past or present) is a wonderful way of creating neural pathways of gratitude in your brain.
7. Don’t just Say Thank You
‘Thank you’ is a beautiful phrase redolent of gratitude—yet when we say ‘thank you’ we often say it the way we say ‘how are you?”—without waiting for (or wanting) a real answer.
People say, “You’re welcome”, and they say it automatically too. So next time you need to say ‘thank you’ to someone, turn it into an opportunity for genuine gratitude. Acknowledge what you are thankful for and note any sacrifice that was made for your benefit. For example, “Thank you for working this weekend, Sarah. I know you were looking forward to going hiking, and I appreciate you giving up your time to help me get the launch ready when Jane called in sick.”
Not only will that person feel truly appreciated, but your mindful gratitude will warm your own heart too—and remind you how truly lucky you are.
8. Re-read Old Journal Entries
Formalise this. Go back through your entries once a month, and again once a year. Make sure you include things you are grateful for every day in list form … so you can go back whenever you’re feeling down (or at those regular times we mentioned) to note and really count your blessings.
9. Be in the Moment
Get into the habit of stopping yourself several times a day simply to notice what you are doing and how you are feeling. Notice the sun shining, if it’s a sunny day.
Notice how clean and pretty your office looks, with your bouquet of fresh flowers.
Notice that funny little drawing on your bulletin board that your six-year-old did for you. Say to yourself, “I am alive in this moment, and I am grateful for the gift of my life.”
10. Make Yourself a Gratitude Template
If certain things you’ve expressed gratitude for in your journal really resonate when you re-read them, use that comment as a template for the way you write down other expressions of gratitude.
In addition to what you are grateful for, also list things like:
- Why you are grateful
- How it makes you feel
(Note that journals you purchase often are set up like wonderful templates too!)
11. Write Testimonials
Write testimonials for everyone in your life. Note what they contribute to your well-being or business, personality traits you admire or enjoy and at least one detailed example of how they put their skills or values into practice.
Even if you don’t plan to share these ‘testimonials’ yet, you will affirm or re-affirm their value in your own eyes. And it will show up in your interactions—as well as being ready-at-hand should a former client or contractor ever ask you for an actual testimonial.
12. Pass Your Gratitude On
Getting into the habit of passing on your gratitude—doing or saying things that show people how much you appreciate them, or sharing positive things that you are thankful for and love—can be catching. It can transform relationships, shift negative office atmospheres to positive ones and change lives—and businesses—for the better.
Gratitude has a habit of spilling over into every aspect of your life—especially when you honor your body and mind with exercise, good food, rest and mindfulness. It’s like sunshine on a dark day, when it is genuine and really lived.
And pretty soon you will find that people are grateful for you!