I see this saying, “Choose Happy” on so many signs, shirts, or mugs, but it is really that simple?
I think there is more to it. For me, I think it is really about choosing gratitude. Choosing to be happy is so broad, but when you think about something you are grateful to have in your life, it lifts your mood. Gratitude is something we should practice all year round.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey
I have informally practiced gratitude for a long time and I attribute it to my generally happy and positive disposition. I do not always have tangible proof of my practice, so that is something I want to work on. I would like to become more consistent with a tangible process like a gratitude journal. So in the spirit of gratitude, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I like to practice gratitude.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
William Arthur Ward
5 Simple ways to practice gratitude
I try to do as many of these things on this list, but my real goal is to make some kind of gratitude practice a part of each day.
Daily Gratitude Reflection
At some point during the day, think about a few things for which you are grateful. Maybe you could think about it while in the shower, during your commute to or from work, or do it while on a walk. Make a point to think about 1-3 things each day. Start with the easy ones, such as I am grateful for my family, my health and my employment, etc., but try to come up with new things each day. Try daily gratitude reflection for a week, and see if you feel different. This is the practice I do most often since it only requires me to change the course of my thoughts for a moment, but it has a huge impact on me and how I am feeling.
This is one I need to work on. You could get a beautiful notebook, but really any notebook will do. You could use post-its to jot down the items from your daily gratitude reflection. Another way to record your gratitude reflection, you could make a quick note on your calendar, it could be a paper calendar, or digital. I want to do this since I want to be able to see my gratitude progress. I think it would be great to see what I was grateful for over the course of a week, a month, and hopefully a year.
Verbalize gratitude several times during the week
Make a point to tell someone you appreciate them and most important, why you appreciate them. It can be anyone!! If you are shy, start with someone you know.
Send a thank you card
I love sending and receiving happy mail. My new goal is to send one thank you note each month, this would be different from and in addition to any thank you notes in response to gifts. So take some time to write a nice thank you note to someone. If you need some cards, check out the ones in my Etsy Shop.
Set an example of gratitude and offer opportunities to practice
I want to raise grateful and kind children, so we talk about what we are thankful for, I say thank you to others in front of my kids, I encourage them to say thank you, and my oldest son sends thank you cards for gifts. Right now, he is still too little to fill out thank you cards by himself, but I read the cards back to him and he has to “sign” each one. There are also some great kids books on gratitude, check out my kids’ book Pinterest board.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault
Today, I am thankful for the tools to write and publish this blog. I am also extremely grateful and humbled by the fact the people take time to read this blog. I know we all have busy lives, so thank you for taking time to read my musings. Take some time each day to think about your blessings.
Who and What are you grateful to have in your life?
“Everyone enjoys being acknowledged and appreciated. Sometimes even the simplest act of gratitude can change someone’s entire day. Take the time to recognize and value the people around you and appreciate those who make a difference in your lives.” Roy T. Bennett
Gratitude quotes from Wisdom Quotes