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As a society, we are often focused on striving for the next best thing, but is this constant pressure to do better, healthy for us? And do we take enough time to practice gratitude and acknowledge all the good already in our lives? The word gratitude has increased in popularity over the last few years, yet many of us still don’t realize that by taking time to be thankful for all that is good in our lives, we can help improve our health and well-being. So how do you go about doing this? Here are some examples of how you can introduce gratitude into your daily life:
Recognizing what you have can be challenging at first; as humans, we tend to take many things for granted. When asked what you are grateful for, many people will answer “family and friends” if you are lucky enough to give this answer, that is wonderful. Yet, there is still so much more we can be thankful for.
Begin by sitting and thinking about your morning routine; there will be things you are grateful for and often take for granted. These are the things in life that you are so used to that you forget to feel gratitude towards. You are not alone; we are all guilty of taking many things in daily life for granted. So let’s begin. Did you get out of a nice comfy bed this morning? Were you in a safe and warm home when you woke up? Did you get to flick a switch and turn a light on using electricity? Were you able to wash with fresh running water from a tap inside your home? How many things can you think of from your morning routine that you are grateful for? Now think about your whole day.
Next time you’re doing a chore that you find boring or annoying, turn it around. For example, if you’ve had a busy day, it’s your turn to cook, and you don’t want to. Try changing your line of thought. Instead, think about how good it is to get fresh food from your fridge, prepare a meal and cook it in your own home. Are you feeding others? Think about the privilege of having enough food and resources to feed other people.
In the morning, when you wake up, write down three things you are grateful for; this could be from spending time with your family to being able to dance to your favourite song. There are no right or wrong answers, only what you are grateful for at that moment. Then every evening, jot down another three things you have been thankful for that day. Completing a daily gratitude journal will help you focus on the positive aspects of your life; as a result, this will positively affect your well-being.
Take a walk in nature and notice the beauty surrounding you, whatever the season. Watch things coming to life in the spring or getting ready to sleep in the winter. Listen to the sounds of the natural world while taking in the scents surrounding you. And last but not least, breathe deeply and allow the fresh air to fill your lungs.
Desmond Tutu once said, ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’ Now think of the last time someone did something kind for you. How did it make you feel? Then think about the last act of kindness you gave to someone. Once again, how did it make you feel? Kindness often leaves a lasting impression on both the giver and the recipient; this is because kindness increases happiness and improves connections with others. It also aids your health and well-being. As a receiver of kindness, you may feel gratitude and overwhelming warmth. And as a giver of kindness, you may be grateful and thankful that you could help someone. So, kindness can also spread gratitude in many ways.
Crystals can also be used in a gratitude practice, from wearing jewellery to holding them during meditation. Three good crystals for this are:
Gratitude is a vital part of life. It enhances well-being and can lift your mood. Yet, it is often overlooked as you look towards future goals or become absorbed in everyday life. So take a few minutes to count the blessings you already have.
Don’t forget to tag us in any of your gratitude practice pictures at @surrender_to_happiness. And for more ideas and tips, remember to check out our blog. Finally, if you need a new morning routine to help with your gratitude practice, look at our blog ‘develop a great morning routine‘.