“How to be happier?”
That’s the Google search that in many ways, changed my life. At one point in my life I found myself in such a miserable place that I literally resorted to Google to help me escape it. The craziest thing about it is that it worked. I went down a rabbithole of practices, habits, behaviors and beliefs taught by all kinds of experts, psychologists and gurus, who surprisingly all shared one main concept: the practice of gratitude.
The more I researched the topic of what it takes to lead a happy life, the more I kept stumbling upon gratitude. I discovered that some of the most successful and happy people in the world have developed certain habits and rituals that they follow every day. Although these habits differ slightly from person to person, they also share some similarities, one of them being the daily practice of gratitude. I wondered if they were onto something.
I discovered that some of the most successful and happy people in the world have developed certain habits and rituals that they follow every day.
But what does “practicing gratitude” even mean? I am grateful for my life, my health, etc, isn’t that enough? Evidently no. Practicing gratitude means to mindfully and purposely think about specific examples of things in your life for which you genuinely feel grateful. The practice of gratitude entails taking the time to do this exercise regularly, thus awakening in you the feeling of gratitude and joy. It can include (mentally or otherwise) listing important things, such as overcoming an illness and having a home to live in, or small things such as enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning, and truly engaging in feeling the joy that sparks from having these things in your life.
I remember first learning about this concept of expressing gratitude from Chicken Soup For The Soul author and co-founder Jack Canfield. Before I heard Jack speak I had never before considered feeling gratitude or true appreciation for things that are available to me thanks to the work of other people, like the road where I drove this morning, the building I’m currently sitting in and the computer on which I’m typing this article. All of these things were made through the efforts of other people, and they are valuable to me because they help to make my life easier. How many times have you stopped to think about that before? I had never considered it, until I Jack Canfield brought this concept to light.
The most fascinating thing is that I started actively looking for things, in my day-to-day for which to be grateful.
Of course there are a lot of other people who talk about and teach gratitude, Jack Canfield is just one example. Each person has their own take on what a gratitude practice entails, and how they practice it in their lives. I finally decided to give it a try and develop my own way to practice it. I started by building the habit of practicing it every day. Each morning I would write down one thing, person, experience or opportunity for which I’m grateful in my life, adding an extra one the next day. Example: day one, write down one thing. Day two, two things, and so on. When I got to day 10 or so, I would start over.
I found it really important not only to develop a system that works for me, but also make it a point to repeat it every day. Repetition forms a habit.
The most fascinating thing is that I started actively looking for things, in my day-to-day for which to be grateful. The most impactful result of this simple practice, is how it has the power to make you look for good things around you throughout your day, so you can add it to your gratitude list. But isn’t having the ability to look for good things around you exactly what makes someone a positive person? Well, there you go.
You can always find things to complain about in life, and allow those to bring you down. Or you can choose to look for the good in everything and be empowered by that. That’s what I learned from this practice.I started out with a daily list, and now I use a journal to write down what I’m grateful for each day. It’s obvious I don’t just look for things to fill up my gratitude journal, but actively looking for reasons to feel grateful is what brings me joy, helps me to genuinely feel happier and see the bright side in every situation. And that is the most magical thing about a gratitude practice.
If you’re interested in incorporating a gratitude practice into your life but are not sure how to start, I have developed a really easy way for you to start.
You can download my free Mini Gratitude Journal which contains four weeks worth of really simple, yet powerful exercises to help you practice gratitude every day!
Click below to download! https://gabbisolarpowered.com/gratitudejournal/