The first year I started keeping a daily gratitude practice, my husband lost his job.
I thought for sure that there wouldn’t be a reason to keep a gratitude journal going.
As it turns out, in times of uncertainty and adversity, gratitude is the best possible practice as well as a life-changing one as well.
That was 10 years ago.
This year I cracked open a brand new journal — my 10th — feeling like it was a special year.
And now we have been under a shelter-in-place order for a month.
My gratitude practice, however, is stronger than ever. In fact, I feel as if I could write for days every single night.
Gratitude gets a bad rap by some. But the truth is that it is one of the most scientifically studied happiness booster anyone can practice.
So just what do you need to do to get started?
As long as you believe there is nothing to be grateful for it’s going to be hard to start let alone maintain a practice rooted in positivity. So the first step is just choosing to try it.
TRY IT FOR 30 DAYS.
A day or two of gratitude — especially when inconsistently practiced — isn’t going to bring you the true life-changing happiness booster effect that a consistent practice will offer. So vow to try doing a practice for a substantial period of time. This might be 7 days. Or two weeks. I’m suggesting you give it a try for 30 days — long enough to really make it more of a habit.
MAKE IT A HABIT
Yes, doing your gratitude practice regularly is key. But learning to FEEL gratitude when it comes up is the practice. Make it a habit to take time in your day to recognize even just one thing you can be grateful for and spent a minute reflecting on that one thing. By making this a habit throughout your day you will start to really feel the gratitude “wash” that will lead to more positivity.
WRITE IT DOWN — OR NOT
I write my gratitudes down in a new journal each year and I save them to be able to give to my daughters some day. I re-read them from time to time as well for great memory keeping. But you don’t have to write down gratitudes to experience the happiness boost. Take a picture. Meditate on what you are grateful for. Or start a family gratitude bulletin board.
EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE
Better than anything is offering your gratitude to someone else. By sharing what you are grateful with someone else – or why you are grateful for them — you are spreading the positivity and good emotions. This is a joy injection for everyone, including yourself. So don’t be afraid to go out of your way to express gratitude to someone today. Your child or partner. A friend. A store worker. A teacher or principal. The postal worker delivering your mail. There are many needing a dose of gratitude right now.