The other day we discussed turning our lives into unicorns rather than dung beetles. It all came down to reprogramming our brain, making positive connections in our brains. One simple way to do this is to adopt a daily gratitude ritual.
What is gratitude anyway?
Well, the always (ahem) accurate Wikipedia says that gratitude is “a feeling, emotion, or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.”
Honestly, sounds like good old Wiki got it pretty right this time. Wiki goes on to say that there is a lot of research out there that says that grateful people are happier, less stressed, and generally more satisfied with their life.
Better yet, grateful people sleep better. What, huh? Anything that will keep me from nodding off at my desk at 2:00 p.m. sounds like a grand idea to me.
So how do we cultivate gratitude?
Oh, let me count the ways…
- Create a gratitude jar and each day write down on a slip of paper one thing that you are grateful for at that very moment. Fill up that jar, but on occasion take out those slips and re-read them. They will help remind you of all that you have to be grateful for.
- Create a gratitude journal and each day write about one thing you are grateful for at that very moment. Or sketch it. Or paste a photo in the book. Read that journal often.
- Send a thank you note every day to someone for anything that you are grateful for. Perhaps they helped you move, they watched your kids for the evening, or they smiled at you when you were feeling low.
- Create a wall of grateful with post-it notes. Each day write something you are grateful for on a post-it and plop it on a wall that you pass by often. Watch as that wall fills up.
- Say a grateful prayer. Find a prayer that really conveys gratitude for you and say it each and every day while you think of all the things you have to be grateful for. Beliefnet has a prayer search available and here is what I found for gratitude prayers.
I bet there are tons of ways you can cultivate gratitude. Any suggestions? Just remember, do this every day until being grateful just becomes natural.