What a week it’s been… I’ve been totally immersed in my overwhelming feelings of gratitude here on the blog this week with the giveaways and with thinking about Thanksgiving next week. I don’t want to only reflect on and practice gratitude during this time of year, but it does fit in nicely with how so many others are feeling right now. I make it a point within my life to practice gratitude whenever possible — that can mean thanking the mailman at the gate for the mail, picking up someone else’s coffee order, or volunteering my time at a local shelter. So I wanted to share a quick list with you about ways to practice gratitude in your own life, both big and small.
7 Ways to Practice Gratitude
1. Write in a gratitude journal.
While I don’t keep a specific journal just for gratitude lists, I do use my Five Minute Journal twice a day, daily. There’s a section titled “3 amazing things that happened today,” and that is the section that really helps me to reflect on the day and identify anything big or small that has made thankful that day. You could also fold this into your standard journaling practice by simply keeping a lost. I’ve heard that Oprah does this (and you know if Oprah does it…).
2. Say Thank You to everyone who helps you.
It’s so obvious, but I really feel like it needs to be said: any time someone helps you, especially in the service industry, voicing your appreciation goes a long way. Simply look them in the eye and say thank you. That’s all it takes.
3. Volunteer your time.
Time is literally a currency these days. One of the biggest ways you can practice gratitude is by giving your time to a cause that needs it. My personal preference is to volunteer at an animal shelter, but you can also research addiction centers, women’s shelters, and other organizations that give back to the community. So many of them are looking for people to help distribute coats and meals during the colder months, I’m sure they would appreciate any amount of time you can give.
4. Send a postcard or letter.
Are you sensing a trend, where it’s really all about the time you give to something that helps to make someone feel appreciated? Writing a letter or sending a postcard telling someone how much they mean to you falls into that category. It’s such a small gesture, but is really impactful. Plus, everyone loves getting a bit of snail mail these days.
5. Cook or bake something.
I’m Greek, so basically our love language is food. Any time I want someone to truly know that I appreciate and care about them, I cook for them. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that I roasted a chicken for Sean within the first week we knew each other…
6. Think of where you were a year ago.
Honestly, the only thing I really enjoy about Facebook is that it reminds you of past photos on the anniversary date. I love looking back in time and seeing how far I’ve come, especially when I consider my leg and my climbing accident. The thing with PTSD is that it can make you feel like you haven’t made any progress, but you have. You really, truly have and it helps so much to think about that, meditate on it, and practice gratitude about it.
7. Express gratitude to yourself, too.
This can mean anything from looking yourself in the eye in the mirror and thanking yourself or playing your hand over your heart and meditating on your growth and strength, for example. But here’s the thing, each of us is amazing and wonderful and sometimes you need to remind your own self of that!
P.S. you can find even more self care and wellness posts here, including:
- How to Take the Most Relaxing Bath EVER
- 15 Self-Care Ideas for Fall
- Why You Should Try a Meditation App
- How to Get Into the Holiday Spirit When You’re Renovating
What is your favorite way practice gratitude? I’d love to expand my practice.
photography by Belathée Photography.
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