Practicing gratitude has been a consistent part of my life. It’s evolved and changed over the years, from simply counting my blessings at the end of each day, to a weekly gratitude journal, to creating an online group with like-minded women where we share daily gratitude posts every day in November. Recently, I posed the question, “In what ways has gratitude impacted your life?” to this group. Their answers were very similar and profound, and I wanted to share their insights on how a gratitude practice can impact your life.
- Gratitude helps shape my perspective and mood. When I'm aware of all the good in my life, from the experiences I’ve had to the people I engage and connect with, to the comforts of my environment, it helps me be aware and keep the good and the bad in perspective.
- It can be so easy to get caught up and dwell on the negatives, and I’ve found that taking moments to actively reflect and focus on the positives that surround me in life, that there are always things to be grateful for, makes adverse experiences better.
- In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there’s a lot we can take for granted, but focusing on gratitude helps keep that in check.
- No matter how we view circumstances, (good/bad, negative/positive) the moment we can feel grace and gratitude is the moment we set ourselves free from the limitations that exist. Knowing I have a choice in how I view things, with gratitude or grumbling, is a sense of freedom even when it’s around things I don’t like.
Being Present and Grounded
- Practicing gratitude gives me the opportunity to stay present and grounded, giving me the clarity to step forward with courage and grace. It has helped me find balance in life.
Attracting Good into Your Life
- There is good in every single day if you're open to seeing it. I believe the more you practice gratitude, the better energy you put out, the better things will come back to you.
Calm During Difficult Times
- I've found the more challenging the year, the more things I find to be thankful for.
- The times when my gratitude practice has been most powerful is during the hardest points of my life. It has been like a little oasis of calm in chaotic experiences. I couldn’t change my circumstances, but I could choose what to focus on.
- For me, gratitude gives a sense of peace when things around me, or within me, feel out of control or just too much. When I’m struggling the most is when it’s most important to practice it.
- At one point, I realized I complained a lot and tended to be slightly negative and critical. I was concerned about the kind of person I would be someday if I continued to be this way. Starting my gratitude journey has changed my outlook on life. Looking at our world from a grateful heart has helped me to be thankful – not just talking about it!
Ways To Practice Gratitude
Some of the ways my circle of friends practice gratitude include:
- Keeping a gratitude journal.
- Posting thankful messages daily on social media.
- Recognize feelings of negativity or complaints and instead say two things to be thankful for.
- Starting each day by practicing gratitude and prayer of thanks.
- Focusing on stating a “why” to be grateful instead of a “thing” to be grateful for.
- Practicing “30 Days of Thanks” to write or share one thing to be grateful for each day for one month.
- Texting friends randomly to tell them why they are treasured relationships.
- Leading with appreciation instead of jumping right to criticism.
I hope this sparks some ideas for you to incorporate gratitude into your daily life. It isn’t about ignoring the challenges and difficulties of life because those experiences will always be there; practicing gratitude can shift your perspective, create a little calm, and even improve your attitude.
This blog article was contributed by Tera Girardin, Marketing Manager for Nexus Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.