“I opened two gifts today, they were my eyes.” -Zig Ziglar
It is scientifically proven that waking up in the morning and listing what you are grateful for will positively impact your day. I think we can all buy into this, but without understanding what gratitude is, many of us will shove this suggestion aside. The origin of the word gratitude is Latin and is derived from gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. It is an appreciation for what one receives or already possesses, whether that be tangible or intangible.
But, gratitude is more than just saying what we’re thankful for around a table at dinner. It is changing the way we speak about ourselves on the daily, it is taking the time to notice and recognize the resources around us that we may take for granted, and it is applying that energy and doing something good with it.
As Pascale Edery, our Integrous Women Impact coach and founder of International Coaching says,
“Gratitude is always the first topic I introduce when I work with clients because you can transform your life by practicing gratitude daily. It is the key to happiness and the pillar of success.”
So how can we practice gratitude in our daily lives? What are the ways in which we can connect ourselves to the ideas and things we already possess and use this energy to focus on the positive? I’ll walk you through some ways now…
1. Take a gratitude walk
We’ve all heard that exercise is good for the soul and can help reduce anxiety. How amazing is it that we can combine light exercise and gratitude? If you’re like me, you might go on a walk and begin to spiral into the happenings of the day, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Let’s work on changing the narrative. Next time you go on a walk, begin to notice the things you see as you are walking. This could be the rustling of trees, the smell of plants, trickling water if you are near a stream, birds chirping. Even if you live in a louder neighborhood, try focusing in on one sound. Begin to notice the ways in which your feet hit the ground. If you are walking with a partner, friend or dog- notice your appreciation for their presence and share with them that gratitude.
2. Stop saying sorry!
I’ve been told I use the word “sorry” too much and I know I am not alone. Even if you don’t do this, think about what a positive impact changing that narrative from “I’m sorry” to “thank you” has: Thank you for this opportunity, thank you for a new day, THANK YOU. Notice how sorry is admission of fault or failure. If we go on all day saying we are failures, soon we will begin to believe this. Instead, say thank you for pointing this out to me or thank you for an opportunity for growth. Every word change will begin to change your thought wiring and allow for positive change.
3. Use daily gratitude prompts in a journal
Gratitude prompts are an excellent and easy way to continue your practice of gratitude. All you have to do is fill in the blank! You can draw from memories, senses, people, things, feelings… the list is endless. The goal is to identify at least three things in each category you are thankful for.
Thankfully, you can do this anywhere! Use your notes on your phone, keep a journal, decorate a whiteboard and put it in your room, or even use an expo pen and write them on your bathroom mirror.
Here are a few to get you started:
I’m grateful for three things I hear:
I’m grateful for three things I see
I’m grateful for three things I smell:
I’m grateful for three things I touch/feel:
I’m grateful for these three things I taste:
I’m grateful for these three blue things:
I’m grateful for these three animals/birds:
I’m grateful for these three friends:
I’m grateful for these three teachers:
I’m grateful for these three family members:
I’m grateful for these three things in my home:
I’m grateful for these three people who hired me:
4. For the techies: Use a gratitude app like “Grateful”
If you’re like me you might take to using an app like “Grateful”. There are many apps that do the same thing, but essentially it’s a great organizer with prompts and spaces for you to record your daily gratitude. It’s also great if you have a busy schedule and rightly so forget about this part of your day. You can adjust the settings and program the app to send you daily reminders so you can keep up the good work.
5. If you have kids (adults welcome!): Make a gratitude flower
This one is for the mom’s, the caretakers or the adults who love crafting!
A gratitude flower. If you grew up in the United States, you probably remember making a “Thankful Turkey” before the Thanksgiving Holiday: tracing your hand and cutting it out to create the image of a turkey. This is the same concept, and you’re welcome to get crafty with it, whether that be a flower or any shape you’d like.
For the flower, start by cutting out a circle and writing, “Things I am Grateful For” or a specific theme you’d like to branch all of your gratitude off of. Next, using a template or even freehand, sketch out the shape of petals and cut out between 10 and 12 ‘petals’. On each petal, write down something you are thankful for.
Lastly, go ahead and display your beautiful flower somewhere you will see it everyday, like on your fridge or beside your calendar!
Remember that practicing gratitude is a daily exercise. Just like any other skill, it is a muscle that needs to be worked until it is a part of your “muscle memory” or wiring. With persistence and intention, you can start everyday with more direction and a positive attitude.
Looking for more helpful tips like this? Check out our membership which includes online course modules on personal and professional development.