Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude—pausing to reflect on all we’ve been given instead of focusing on getting more.
Gratitude is a fascinating emotion. Like regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and many other things that are good for us—and science increasingly shows that gratitude is good for us, both psychologically and physiologically—it’s easy to recognize the value of gratitude yet fail to make it part of our daily lives. Feeling grateful around Thanksgiving is easy; feeling grateful all year is not.
It’s possible, though, to build gratitude into your daily rhythm and reap its rewards constantly. Here are three quick ways to to so.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Buy a blank journal, and each day, write down one thing you’re grateful for. Over time, you’ll amass a remarkable list of blessings, big and small, and reading your past entries will increase your gratitude in that moment, too.
- Build gratitude into your commute. I got this idea from Zig Ziglar a few years ago, and I practiced it regularly for quite a while. Make a mental list of the things you like about your job, and review the list on your way to work. If you commute alone, recite them out loud. Zig suggested starting with “I love my job because they pay me for working there,” and goofy as it sounded, I followed his advice. Speaking personally, it made a big difference in my attitude, and I probably need to bring thie practice back into my life.
- Make gratitude part of your family routine. A former colleague of mine used to ask her two kids, at the end of the school day, “What’s something good that happened today?” Sarah and I have recently decided to adopt this practice. Bringing gratitude into your family life is a great way to refocus everyone on what matters.
However you do it, consider installing a gratitude ritual into your life. While you won’t always feel grateful as you engage in your chosen gratitude activity, you usually will when you’ve finished.