I’m often asked for “quick-tips” to jump start the day and ways to power up a better mood. Gratitude is the answer. It is both the easiest and most powerful practice I know if you want to quickly shift from bad feelings to better and it often leads to curiosity and compassion.
So take a look at the post first published on this site a couple of years ago and fire up the gratitude and appreciation in your life. It will be a difference-maker in your day.
Resarch by psychologists like Robert Emmons indicates gratitude improves our moods, health, and overall well-being. People who practice daily gratitude also felt better about their lives overall and were more likely to reach their goals.
It’s also good for relationships. When I give thanks that Mr. J is doing the dishes, I’m also noticing him and his goodness and reflecting, for a moment, on all that he brings to my life. That’s a good thing.
And the great thing is, gratitude is not limited. It can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, anytime and it just takes a moment.
Looking for ways to count your blessings? Here are three quick gratitude habits.
1. Say Thank You. This habit requires you to stop and take stock of what’s happening right now. Say this regularly to yourself, to the conditions that surround you, to the people who help. Use it as a way to be present and as a reminder that even the challenges you face offer lessons and opportunity for gratitude.
2. Pick five. Make it a personal goal to find at least five different things to be grateful for every day. Lots of people list theirs in a daily gratitude journal – which is illuminating and helpful. Often I just name five things to myself in the morning and before bed. But holding yourself accountable for at least five will keep you noticing things to be grateful for all day long. Don’t be afraid to smart small. If life feels hard right now, you can still be grateful for your breath or your cat or a mug of hot soup or the beautiful tree outside your window.
3. See the gift in the garbage. It is an exercise in mindfulness and present-living, as well as gratitude to notice the goodness even when things are bleak. It may take a little effort, but it’s worth it because there’s a positive payoff at the end. Connecting to the goodness that remains in life, even when it’s hard, is healing and it reminds you that darkness is never absolute.
From a little pinpoint of light there can be life again.
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