“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ― Brené Brown
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, messages reminding us to feel grateful are as abundant as hand turkey drawings on classroom walls.
But what is gratitude, and how can you bring more of it into your life?
Google tells us gratitude is “the quality of being thankful.” That is an accurate definition. But why is it important? I mean, we say ‘thank you’ all the time (I hope?), but how often do we stop to think about what that means?
Cultivating and expressing gratitude is a feature of many cultures and religions. Science tells us us finding and expressing gratitude is good for us — that it reduces stress, increases happiness, improves our mood and makes us better people. But we don’t need science to tell us that, we know its benefits because we feel good doing it!
So, how can you find your gratitude attitude? Hint: it’s all around us… like love*.
Here are some simple tips to help you bring feelings and expressions of gratitude into your day-to-day life:
Pick something, anything about your day and think about why you feel grateful for it. It could be a person, a place, an activity, a song, a routine, anything!
Pause and reflect about what it is about that “thing” that you are grateful for.
Don’t over think it. Don’t worry about trying to come up with a philosophical explanation for why you feel grateful, just acknowledge it and enjoy the feeling that brings!
They key here is to make the practice of gratitude it a habit, not a chore. How you develop the habit will depend on how you approach goals or tasks. Some might suggest setting aside 5 (or 10 or 20) minutes a day just to reflect on things you are grateful for. Others might recommend writing out the top 3 things you are grateful for in a day. Me? I just try to use my “quiet times“ as an opportunity to reflect — in the shower, on a walk or on my lunch break.
In my next post I’ll show you how to take your expressions of gratitude to the next level, further amplifying all those feelings of goodness!
What are you grateful for in this moment? Look around you, what do you see? Pick an object and Share what you find (and feel) in the comments below!
*Editor’s note: Thanksgiving = Christmas countdown = watching Love Actually on repeat for the next six weeks. Who’s with me?