The Gifts of Gratitude

Ever feel like there’s a storm cloud following you around, casting a shadow over your mood and your perspective? There’s a simple tool that can help you weather the storm: gratitude.

Gratitude is all about perspective. The difficult things in life aren’t going anywhere, but by stepping back, focusing on the positive and looking at the big picture, you can cut them down to size.

Here are three of our favorite practices that can help you cultivate and share an attitude of gratitude every day.

Write it Down

A daily gratitude list is a simple tool that can help you regularly focus on the positive. Whether you start or end your day with a list of things you’re grateful for, or put pen to paper in a moment of frustration, taking time to reflect on the gifts in your life can help brighten your day and shift your mood. Some days it may flow smoothly, while coming up with a list on others may feel like pulling teeth. The key? Try it and stick to it. You just might be surprised how profound the effects of practicing daily gratitude can be over time.

Share it

Struggling to stick to your new gratitude resolution? Like exercise and healthy eating, there is strength in numbers. The motivation you get from friends and family can help keep you on track. Therefore, consider reaching out to some loved ones and inviting them to get into gratitude alongside you, and set a gratitude challenge. Set a daily reminder and, when prompted, share your gratitude list via text, email, etc. This reminder and accountability can help keep you on track, while sharing in the gratitude of others can shine a light on certain gifts in your life that you take for granted.

Pay it forward

Reflecting on the gifts you’ve been given in life, and paying them forward, can start a chain that brings light into the lives of others. You don’t have to change the world, but it’s relatively easy to hold a door for a stranger, bake cookies for your office colleagues, or donate an old winter jacket to help those in need. Awareness of the gifts you have at any given moment can sometimes help you see that there are many in the world without them. Cultivate awareness of what you have, and the gratitude will come. Then, take it to the next level and feel the warmth that comes from sharing it.