It’s November and the feeling of “doing good” is in the brisk cool air. This time of year, whether you celebrate the holidays or not, brings a sense of community and service. Lending a helping hand or taking extra time to spend with family is a bandwagon everyone can benefit from. Before I jump into How to Start a Gratitude Practice, I want to point out why it’s so good.The Why
It makes life better.
Plain, simple and easy to understand, right :). No, really, it is! Our world experiences sorrow and trials each day, wouldn’t you want a way to help lessen that in your’s and your family’s life?
A gratitude practice brings awareness to the joy that already surrounds you. It costs no money, no lengthy time commitment, and it is perfectly understood by kiddos. For my own experience, it has grounded me in times of pain and struggle. I suffered from PPD (postpartum depression) after my baby was born. Parents who have experienced this can relate to how low you are able to get, but at the same time, you have to still care for a fully dependent being. Remembering my gratitude practice helped pull me out of dark moments, especially when I was alone. I wouldn’t say it cured me, but it helped me to get through until my husband was home to care for the baby.
There have been plenty of times when a gratitude practice has served me up a huge slice of humble pie (Thanksgiving pun, much needed). When I felt envious towards another person or felt I did not have everything I needed to be happy, it reality-checked me that I actually have it pretty darn good. The practice has endless possibilities and the way you apply it will be unique for you.The How
I hope you’re convinced to at least learn how this whole thing works; it’s much simpler than it sounds. Each practice will vary from person to person but here a few basic steps you can take and add to what will best fit you:
- Find a quiet space (if possible) if not, take a moment and clear your thoughts.
- Think about what is on your person. Clothes, physical features, maybe a child on your hip.
- Mentally (or audibly) say I am grateful for *blank*. Name three things.
- Look at your surroundings, evaluate things that make you smile. Is it your home, furniture, food. Are you outside? Is it trees, the flowers, a neighbor, a car? Name three things.
- Now mentally think of things or people which are not around or on you that bring you joy or peace. Far away family, a spouse’s job, your job, the home you grew up in, memories of old friends. Name three things.
- By this point, you have thought of at least 6 different things or people you are grateful for. How has your mood changed?
This practice can be done any time of day, I do mine when I first wake up to help jump start the day! It can easily be added to any routine you already have established. The number of things you are grateful for can be shortened or lengthened if you have the time. If you are wanting to implement this idea into your kids routine, depending on the age, it does have to be this structured. Simply asking “What made you happy today?” can plant the seed of remembering the good things we have instead of focusing on things we want.
What are you grateful for? Do you already have a routine similar to this? Let us know in the comments and share this post on social media if it has helped inspire a gratitude practice in you!