Grateful people are happy people. Appreciating what you have and how far you’ve come is one of the foundations for living a more mindful, more meaningful life. Gratitude rituals are present in the teachings of so many wellness gurus that it almost feels cliche. Since I’ve started my intentional journey into mindfulness and wellness it seems that every person, every book, every podcast, and every article that talks about how to be a happier person tells you that gratitude is key and that ritualizing it creates a habit of thankfulness.
So it’s not really cliche–it’s something that actually works.
I’ve incorporated a couple of different gratitude rituals into my daily life. I’ll probably delve into each item much deeper in follow-up blogs. Here are some of the things I do to celebrate life and achievement:
- During yoga, I’ll do gratitude sun salutations. With each routine set, I focus on one aspect of my life that I’m thankful for-home, marriage, family, financial stability, etc.
- I keep a simple journal at work that I use as a daily planner. In it, I write out, in long form, three things that I am grateful for each morning before delving into my work day-coffee, corgis, upbeat music
- During my lunch break, I often take a walk through a graveyard that’s around the corner from my office. My first lap around the path is always mindfulness focused, and part of my mindfulness practice during this walk is to once again think on those things that I’m grateful for that day.
- I’m currently practicing a meditation method taught by Vishan Lakhiani that guides you through 6-phases. During one of these phases-the aptly named gratitude phase-you are instructed to think of three things your grateful for in your personal life, three things you are thankful for in your professional life, and then three things that you love, or are grateful for, about your self.
I think my practice here may be a bit extreme, but I want it to become second nature for me to be happy with what I have in this moment. So when the big sucky situations happen, I’ve exercised and toned that gratitude muscle, and I can focus on the positive instead of the temporary negative of those moments.
I never want to take my life, my felicity for granted. I’ve worked long and hard to get where I am, and I’m going to get even better.
In her book, The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane has several exercises to express gratitude. One that I loved is to sit down with a pen and paper and write out five things that you can see in the room with you that you are grateful for. I am grateful for my cell phone that connects me to so many people. I am grateful for air conditioning because I live in the south and OMG the humidity. I am grateful for windows, so I can see the outside world. I am grateful for my chapstick, because it keeps my lips soft and healthy.
There are so many ways to get into the habit of gratitude. It’s all about taking a moment to stop and ponder on the joys of right now, no matter how small or how bizarre. Just allow yourself to be pleased with your progress and to be happy.
So tell me, what are you grateful for today?