The art of practicing gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a very powerful way of bringing positivity and goodness into your life, yet not many people have heard of it.

So, what is gratitude, how do you practice it, and why is it important? 

For me it can simply be about being consciously being grateful for all the things that surround me, which could be people, items or places. Being appreciative of all the things my family and friends do for me. Being thankful to have everyday basic necessities, like food, water, shelter and an education. Sometimes we can take what we have for granted, and focus on the negative sides of a situation. 

A powerful exercise I have learnt, has been how to find the positive outcome of each challenging or negative situation. Changing our mindsets, so that when we start to get down we can think about all the things that make us happy at the time, and there is always something will come up.

An example could be if you don’t like having to get up early on a cold morning to go school. You could think about how lucky you are to have a job or a school to go to, and how nice it is to have fresh air to breathe. Another example could be if you get fed up with having to clean your room every week, you could think about how lucky you are to have a room to clean in the beginning. 

Practicing gratitude is also a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and can help in times of darkness.
When preparing for a big upcoming exam or performance, I can get really anxious and stressed about handing it in on time or attending the event. Sometimes I can get so nervous that it causes my throat to close up and can at times stop me from performing or submitting the exam. 

Everybody can be stressed and anxious at times, and finding a way of practicing gratitude may help you bring goodness into your lives.

There are many different ways to practice gratitude. A simple everyday way to be grateful can be remembering to say ‘thank you’. Studies have shown that managers who remember to say ‘thank you’ to people that work for them, may find that those employees feel more motivated to work harder. 

Some other more hands-on practices can be things such as note making, meditating and journaling. Some proof of how writing down thankful moments can be beneficial is backed up by our motivational icon Oprah Winfrey. 

In one of her blog posts she shares how back in 1996 she wrote in her gratitude journal for a full decade without fail and talks about how much joy it brought her to reflect on things she was thankful for everyday. 

In one of her entries, some of the things she was grateful for on October 12, 1996 was:

  • A run around Florida's Fisher Island with a slight breeze that kept her cool.
  • Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun.
  • A long and hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head.
  • Sorbet in a cone, so sweet that she literally licked her fingers.
  • Maya Angelou calling to read her a new poem.

A few years later reflecting on this entry she wondered why she no longer felt that joy from simple moments like that anymore. She had gained more money, more possessions. Everything had grown except her happiness. Even through all her amazing opportunities and experiences she still felt an emptiness. Oprah realised that she was stressed in 1996, but made practicing gratitude a daily priority and went through the day looking for things to be grateful for. 

She has started journaling again and has said that she now feels more appreciative of whatever comes up, has been able to generate more goodness into her life, and now feels more like herself.

It is so important to make time to step away from our hectic lives and take a moment to breathe and do the things that make us happy.

Believe in yourself and all the amazing things you are capable of. Don’t be afraid to try some of these grateful practices and welcome in all the positivity you deserve. 

Are you ready to go and be your best self??