Hey you! So... you're thinking about giving gratitude a try. You want to start a gratitude practice but don’t know how. Don’t worry, I got ya! In Growing Gratitude I give an in-depth look into dozens of ways to practice gratitude and the step-by-step actions you can take to implement your chosen gratitude practice, but today I'll show you 8 tried and tested (by me!) tips.
Some of these practices are simple and accessible. Others are more challenging or they make more of an impact and therefore aren’t suitable for everyday use. Personally, I like some methods more so than others. Out of these eight gratitude practices, I’m sure there is one that speaks to you the most.
Duh, this one seems obvious! If you’ve been following me on Instagram you know I write a daily gratitude list. Each day I jot down three things I’ve felt grateful for that day. You can vary with both the frequency of writing your list and the number of items on your list. Writing a short daily gratitude list works best for me, but writing down ten things your grateful for once each week works as well. Use a gratitude journal or simply a pretty notebook, whatever works best for you.
Reminder: You can find free gratitude journals in the library. Get access here.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart” is a French expression. One of the ways to practice gratitude is remembering those who walk beside you and show you their kindness: a mentor, a dear friend, your fifth grade teacher, a grandmother who showed you her wisdom. The simple exercise of bringing up memories about that special someone can increase your feelings of gratitude.
Write a thank-you letter to someone who has made a positive and lasting impression on your life. Then, take it one step further if you dare. Instead of mailing the letter, visit that person, hand him or her the letter personally, and explain why you wrote it. If you really want to maximize the impact of the letter, read it aloud to that person.
Pay it forward
Imagine this… someone has done you a favor or a kindness. You want to give back to that person, but - whatever idea you hatch - it falls flat compared to that person’s kind gesture. What you can do is help someone else in the same way that this person’s helped you. Sometimes the best way to thank someone is by paying it forward.
Have you ever wanted to thank someone in a spectacular fashion, but had no idea how to do that? In that case, a gratitude bucket may be the answer. Okay, I hear ya thinkin’: “A gratitude bucket? What IS that?!”
The Gratitude Bucket is a website. This site makes it possible for you to easily create a personal space for that special someone where you (and anyone you invite) can express your gratitude. It’s like you fill a bucket with appreciation, except it's a digital one. Take a look at the Gratitude Bucket website here.
Another approach to practicing gratitude is through using an app on your phone or tablet. Search for ‘gratitude journal’ in Google Play or the App Store. You’ll find at least ten different (free) apps, like Gratitude Journal App, Happy Tapper, Gratitude Diary or Day One.
If you’re a paper notebook aficionado you're probably like 'no way Jose'. But if your phone is a permanent fixture in your hand, this might be THE best gratitude practice for you.
At the dinner table
This is an excellent way to practice gratitude with other people - your family or friends. Each person expressing three things they're grateful for makes telling each other about your day a lot more meaningful. Added bonus is that you get to know each other better.
For centuries prayer necklaces have shown up in different cultures around the world. The rosary is a well-known example. Use a rosary, a bracelet that has special meaning for you or a string of beads as a gratitude reminder. Count your blessings bead by bead. Every time you touch the beads or that piece of jewellery, it’s a reminder to focus your attention on something that you’re grateful for.
If you want to start your gratitude practice and learn about all the different ways and methods - written, visual, and creative practices, practices linked to your existing habits, and physical exercises that express gratitude - then my ebook Growing Gratitude is just for you. Find out more about Growing Gratitude here.