You’ve slept through your alarm, the kids are late for school and you’d much rather be at home reading a book than going to that work meeting. But if we take a deep breath and a step back, we really do have a lot to be grateful for, don’t we? Here are five ways to live life with more gratitude and use this gratitude to fuel our everyday lives.
Gratitude comes from a place of acceptance. Sure, we might want things to be different, we might want a raise or a house on the beach, or we might want things to run smoother at home or with the family, but regardless of the daily grind we go through, there are things that bring warmth and light and happiness into our lives every day and it’s time to take note and make gratitude a priority for everyday living.
Make time in the morning, or at the end of your busy day, to make note of three things you are grateful for. It could be that you have a place to come home to every day, that you are in good health, or that you are surrounded by people you love. It could be as simple as having leftover pasta-bake for lunch tomorrow or kicking butt at pump class tonight. Take note of the little things that make you happy and make time to be grateful for them.
In trying moments
Test yourself the next time you’re irritated, stuck in traffic or are waiting in a long line at the bank. Be present and remind yourself of something you are grateful for in that moment. For example, I’m stuck in traffic, but I am grateful that I have this car and that my favourite song is playing on the radio. Or, I may be stuck in a line at the grocery store, but I am grateful that I am on my way home to spend time with my loved ones.
It’s great to remind ourselves every day about how grateful we are, but it’s even better if we can share our gratitude with the people around us. Tell your partner how much you appreciate them, give your best friend a call and tell them how much they mean to you or, if you received great service at a restaurant, leave a tip and tell them they did a great job — you might just make their day. Share the gratitude around and show the people around you how much they mean to you.
The big picture
During the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, it’s easy to get caught up in the little things, the small upsets we experience throughout the day. But to put things into perspective, think about those around us who might be experiencing some challenging times. The next time we go to complain about having to cook dinner after a long day at work, give a thought to those who might not have either of those luxuries. Show your appreciation for what you do have by helping those who don’t have those things. Donate your time or money to a charitable organisation, foster a dog or a cat from your local shelter or give food or goods to families in need in your area. Gratitude isn’t just about realising what we have, it’s also about realising how we can help others.
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Meditate on it
Set some time out of your busy day and take time to reflect on your life and your gratitude with some meditation. Sit in a comfortable position and breathe in and out, being mindful of your breath. With every breath you take say a quiet thank you in your mind, set an intention to be more mindful of gratitude and to make gratitude a part of your day-to-day life. Actively realising and appreciating your gratitude puts you in a space which invites happiness and calm. When we’re happy with what we have, and even with what we don’t have, there’s no need to search for more.