“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s the time of year when gratitude challenges start popping up on social media. Sometimes these viral exercises can seem a little disingenuous, and it’s easy to just scroll on by. But the idea of gratitude strikes a chord with me personally.
I’ve written a little about gratitude before, but it’s something I think about often, and it deserves regular attention. Perhaps it’s my background as the daughter of immigrants; perhaps my role as a community leader and business owner plays into it as well. After all, when you’re somewhat responsible for the well-being of your employees and dedicated to the happiness of a huge roster of clients, being in touch with your own gratitude can make you a better person to be around and to work with. That’s important, perhaps now more than ever.
So, how do I stay in touch with my own gratitude? It’s not as easy as you may think. It’s far too simple to just go through the motions of everyday life, but injecting your routine with purposeful reflection is how you grow.
With that in mind, here are 15 ways I remind myself of how lucky I am and how I can help others live happier, more fruitful lives. Gratitude matters, and so do you!
Thank someone for their positive influence on your life.
Keep a gratitude journal and add to it daily.
Start a gratitude jar and add to it (your thoughts written on a small scrap of paper is plenty) every time you feel thankful.
Begin your day with five minutes of focused silence in which you envision what you loved about yesterday and what you hope for today.
Turn that frown upside down by using a stressful moment as an opportunity to appreciate less stressful times.
Go for a run, swim, take a yoga class — whatever you can do to embrace your ability to move.
Instead of feeling anger at disappointing news stories, try to find empathy, even when you struggle to understand the actions of others.
Actively work to remove negative self-talk from your vocabulary and appreciate your favorite traits instead.
Plant a vegetable garden to remind yourself how precious readily available food truly is.
Ask a child what they’re grateful for; the answers are often very inspiring!
Make a list of 10 disappointments and then catalog what positive lessons you learned from them.
Eat dinner without your phone, TV or radio on — just silence and an awareness of every delicious bite of food.
Share the things (a favorite restaurant, an especially good book) that give you joy.
Pick something you use every day and make a list of reasons why you’re grateful to have it.
Give up one seemingly essential item (swap your car out for a bus pass for a week, for example) and see what it’s like to temporarily live without it.