Attitude of Gratitude Series - Practicing Gratitude in your Daily Life
Now it is time to start practicing gratitude in your daily life. You can do this on your own or get others involved if you want. The most important thing is that you practice regularly. With patience and determination, you can develop your attitude of gratitude in a relatively short time.
We encourage you to use the methods below every day so that you will start to transform your life for the better. Suddenly you will see a number of opportunities that you didn’t see before. You will also see great things in your relationships with others that didn’t previously notice and you will start to feel really connected to others.
Before we get into the methods that you need to practice, we need to tell you that some of them might make you feel a little uncomfortable – even embarrassed. It doesn’t matter just keep trying them anyway. See beyond a little discomfort to the bigger picture of transforming your life with gratitude.
We are going to recommend that you meditate and the first practices are around this. The art of mindfulness meditation is a great way to discover gratitude every day. If you have never meditated before then you might find this challenging at first. But stick with it and keep refocusing your mind if it wanders. OK here we go…
1. Gratitude Meditation
Find a comfortable chair in a quiet place and sit down in it. It is best if you close your eyes for this meditation but if you prefer not to then you can just use a soft gaze to the floor about a yard in front of you.
Make your mind quiet and slowly start to concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath using your nose and direct the air to your heart. Now visualize your heart filled with a radiating, soft and violet light.
As you take your deep breath visualize the soft light in your heart changing to a pink color as it slowly combines with the violet light. When you exhale using your mouth visualize a soft blue light moving away from the violet light and travel up through your body and out of your mouth.
Each time that you breathe in say softly to yourself “I am full of gratitude” and each time you breathe out say “I give my gratitude to the Universe”. Repeat this cycle for around 4 to 5 minutes. After this open your eyes or stop gazing at the floor.
2. Gratitude Journal Meditation
We have mentioned a gratitude journal several times in this guide. If you don’t have one yet, then now is the time to get one. Nothing fancy needed – just a notebook that you can place near to your bad.
Before you retire each night, sit quietly and focus your attention on your breathing. Be sure to relax your head while you are doing this. Close your eyes or use a soft gaze to the floor and then take some deep breaths. Pay close attention to each inhale and exhale.
Reflect on the events of the day. Visualize the events and focus on those that contained laughter, acts of kindness or beauty. Notice how you feel as you focus on these things. What kind of thoughts are you experiencing?
After reflecting on the events of your day slowly focus on your breathing again and open your eyes or stop gazing. Now you need to write down the observations that you made in your gratitude journal.
3. Journal all Gratitude
Begin to notice events of the day for which you are grateful. It doesn’t matter if these are big or small things. It is far more important that you notice things than how big or significant they are. You could be grateful for a cup of tea or coffee, grateful to have a job, grateful to have good people around you etc.
Before you retire each night write all of these gratitude points in your journal. Try to remember all of the moments of gratitude but as a minimum record three things. After a week of making these entries you can go through your journal and reflect on them.
4. Breathing Focus
It doesn’t matter how busy you are you can always find a little time for some gratitude. To do this, just stop and focus your full attention on your breathing. Notice every inhale and exhale that you make. Once you are truly focused on your breathing say to yourself “thank you for my breath” as an expression of gratitude that you have life.
Try to do this at least once a day and a minimum of three times every week.
5. Use Visual and Audible Reminders for Gratitude
We all forget things because there is always lots of other stuff that we need to concentrate on. This doesn’t help when you are trying to form gratitude habits. So we recommend that you create and place visual reminders in your home and place of work so that you can keep on the right path.
These visual reminders are there to prompt you to spend some time on gratitude. Some good ideas for visual reminders are:
Carrying a small stone in your pocket or purse – each time you see the stone it will remind you to be grateful
Put a visual note on your walls – a wall in your office, in your kitchen and bathroom which just has the words “I am a grateful person”
Use the alarm on your phone to remind you 2 – 3 times a day that you need to express gratitude
Create a visual reminding you to schedule short gratitude breaks throughout the day
Find a gratitude partner and remind each other of the need to practice gratitude throughout the day.
6. Gratitude and your Family
If your family is willing to practice gratitude with you then take full advantage of this. Use the gratitude benefits list to encourage them to do so if they are not sure. It will really help you to create an attitude of gratitude in your home. Here are some of the things you can do:
With the help of your family create a gratitude list.
Find a good place, such as the kitchen, to place a whiteboard or a large piece of paper where all family members can write things that they are grateful for each day.
Agree a time each week when you and the family will go through the entries on the list and reflect.
Every week create a new list.
7. Written forms of Gratitude
In a previous chapter we discussed writing thank you notes expressing your gratitude using reflective gratitude rather than obligatory gratitude. We strongly believe that you should embrace this into your daily life by writing notes and letters that show your appreciation.
Something that is written from the heart can have a lot more impact than the spoken word. The receiver of such a note or letter can hold on to this forever. Words only last for seconds (unless they are recorded). People tend to keep love letters from their sweethearts for this very reason.
It doesn’t matter if you have not communicated with someone that you owe gratitude to for years. Imagine how stoked they will be to receive a letter from you after all of this time expressing your gratitude to them.
So think about the people in your life, now and in the past, that have really helped you get where you are today. Take the time out to write them a gratitude letter. Reflect back to the time when they helped you. What did they specifically do and how did that lead to you moving forward in your life?
Tell them these things in your gratitude letter. Really let them know how their help and guidance has helped you. Want to make an even bigger impact? Deliver the letter to them personally and read it out loud to them before handing it to them.
Get into the habit of writing your gratitude. Even small thank you notes can have a profound effect on the people receiving them. Take copies of all of the notes and letters that you write and keep them in a box that you can refer to on a regular basis.
When someone does something for you, even the smallest thing, sit down and write them a thank you note as a minimum. For the people that have really had a major impact on your life then a longer letter is more appropriate.
It may take you a while to get into the habit of writing letters and thank you notes but it is something that we highly recommend that you do. So, make a commitment to write at least three notes/letters every week to begin with.