After a not-so-easy 2020 for everybody around the world, we sure could use a brighter 2021! We cant control what this coming year holds but we can surely practice a few habits to make it better for us and people around us! How about starting with the practice of daily gratitude?
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they are thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel
more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
Try one or more of the following practices for a few weeks, and see how it makes you feel.
1. Start by Just Thinking About it Once a Day
Take some time every day, a few moments, to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Reflect while you’re doing a chore or routine that you do every day. Making your bed in the morning, watering your plants, washing your face at night—these little activities can double as the time you intentionally savor the things you are grateful for. That way it becomes habitual and doesn’t require any rearranging of your day.
2. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself about the things you enjoy and are thankful for. Recalling moments of gratitude associated with simple events, your personal attributes, or some special people in your life gives you the potential to inculcate gratefulness in your daily routine.
3. Make Thankfulness Social
Write thank you notes, tell people you’re thankful for their particular attribute, generate a thank-you routine with people around you – do these and notice how warm you feel when you make others feel recognized. Sense of bonding, of interdependence and mutual support also increases with our family, friends and colleagues when we learn to be thankful for them in one way or another.
4. Be Kind, Everyday
Kindness is something that needs to be developed over time, just like gratitude. Learn to appreciate things and people around you and kindness will follow. Making way for someone who is in a hurry, letting an elderly skip the line, giving a listening ear to a colleague who is having a bad day, donating to a charity, doing someone a favor without asking or expecting anything in return, are few things that can help you start with the kindness as a daily practice.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
“Charity begins at home” and so does gratitude. If you are not at peace with your own, no amount of gratitude practice can help you be at ease. Many of us talk about ourselves in a negative way. Don’t engage in the deadly spiral of “Am I Enough?”. Rather, celebrate you strengths and accept yourself with a full heart. Keep working towards a better you, every single day.
6. Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
Family and friends help us appreciate the better things in life – as it is said, “What we earn in this life are the people around us”. Take out time and spend few hours with them each week to call or meet them. Of course, it will help you grow closer to them and strengthen your relationship, but it will also give you
a chance to practice your acts of gratitude on people that you care about.
7. Take Nothing for Granted
It’s easy to lose sight of all that we actually have, which is okay. We are human after all. But try focusing on the good and appreciating it rather than lamenting over what bad has happened with you. Water your grass and make it green. This will help you focus on the blessings that you have in life.
8. Unplug and Detox
Technology can consume us – mobiles, internet, TV, e-mail and more. Take time away from the electronics to embrace and enjoy the things around you. Go for a walk in your neighborhood garden.
Take out your coloring book. Cook a new dish.
9. Live in the Present
It’s easy to dwell on the negatives of the past or worry about the future. If you can live in the moment and take in everything as they happen, you’ll discover joys that are often overlooked. The smell of coffee at the local coffeehouse, the conversation with your friend across the table (instead of checking Facebook) and the smell of rain. Relish and embrace these moments.