Do you believe that by simply saying thanks, your life can change? Is it over the top to believe that the more you express gratitude is the more you have even more things to be grateful for?
This is what I’ve read in a whole lot of my favourite self-help books. In fact, it is said that if you were to poll millionaires, especially people who climbed to success from humble beginnings, you will find that they all practice gratitude in their daily lives in some form.
Oprah advocates for gratitude so much that she keeps a gratitude journal and shares her entries from time to time with her fans. In a post on her website, she shows us how her detour from her constant gratitude practice had a direct and profound effect on her life. She had to find back her gratitude groove and fast.
In this post you'll find:
What Does it Mean to Express Gratitude?
Many of us already express gratitude when something big happens in our life that positively affects us. We give thanks for promotions, for making it home safely after long trips, after major operations and when our kiddo eats their lunch at school.
However the practice of expressing gratitude extends to simple everyday things like having warms coats in the winter, food to cook for dinner or enough change in our purse to grab a coffee to go.
The science behind expressing gratitude in our everyday lives explains that the more we focus on finding things to give thanks for, the happier we become. This is because we’re noticing all the small blessings in our lives that we’ve begun to take for granted as regular occurrences.
Psychologists claim that the more we notice the things in our lives that are going well and take a moment to express thanks, especially through the practice of reflecting on them in a gratitude journal, we increase our well-being and general satisfaction with life.
Gratitude is an appreciation of life.
Acknowledging that our life is filled with many positives boosts our general feel-good vibes. It makes us kinder people who recognise all the good things we’ve got going on. When I know I’ve got something good going on, I’m generally a much happier person. I like being happy. How about you?
Related: 9 Ways to Lead a Happier Life
The Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice
Being purposeful with your gratitude practice involves noting the things you’re thankful for. This can be done electronically or in a gratitude journal. Why is it so important to actually write these things down? Here are 5 benefits of gratitude.
1. Gratitude Makes You Happy
As you travel through your day noting things to be happy for, you are awakened to just how good life is and all the things you’ve been taking for granted. Go ‘head, take stock of all the things you’ve got going for you throughout the day.
2. Gratitude Boosts Your Self-Esteem
Now that you’ve begun noticing all these things that you’ve got going on, you suddenly become aware of just how kick-ass you are and your life is. It puts a little pep in your step and has been shown to give you the confidence to take bolder steps in career, relationships and life in general.
Related: How to quickly turn your mood around and power through your day.
3. Gratitude Makes People Like You More
Everybody likes the kind person.Gratitude makes you kinder and more appreciative of the things others do to make you feel good. Through expressing this gratitude in a mindful and meaningful way, people can’t help but to like you and gravitate towards you.
4. Gratitude Increases Your Spirituality
Whatever it is that you believe in, I’m willing to bet that gratitude is one of the pillions of your belief system. Expressing thanks puts you closer to your Spirit and increases your manifestations of all things good that you’re mindfully attracting. Deepak Chopra would say that gratitude opens the door to the power of the Universe. It opens up your blessings.
5. Gratitude Increases Your Appreciation for Life
Overall, taking stock of the small things around you to be grateful for makes you appreciate life in its present form. Often, we’re caught up in regret over our past and anxiety over our future instead of living in the now. A gratitude journal can help you to enjoy life’s everyday moments and allows you to reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for when you think your life is in the dumps.
Related: How to be a morning person (when you’re really not)
How to Express Gratitude: Three Gratitude Activities
If you’re wondering how to begin your daily practice of being thankful, I’ve got three activities that you can incorporate into your life to get you going. These activities are fun to do by yourself or with your kids. I’ve gotten my 8yo daughter started on two of the three and will be working on getting the third going in my upcoming challenge.
The first is to get a gratitude journal going. It’s essential to write down the things you’re grateful for each day so that you can go back and have a look at these things whenever you need a pick-me-up. It’s also good to just take that moment to feel good about whatever it is you’re giving thanks for. Writing helps us to reflect and connect with the positive emotions that thankfulness evokes.
I gave my munchkin a diary to capture her thoughts as well and everyday she writes what she’s grateful for. Wonderful practice to start with the kiddos. If you’re interested in 28 journal prompts to boost your creativity so you’re not giving thanks for the same things every day, keep reading.
Gratitude At The Dinner Table
When I sit to have dinner with my 8yo, we engage in conversation and put away our devices for the moment. I’ve begun asking her what are some things throughout her day that she’s grateful for and it’s really resonated with her. When I forget this little aspect, she’s the one who nudges me now to express gratitude and I’m truly happy that this has resonated with her. Get them going young and hopefully, they will take the practice with them throughout their life. What an enriching prospect.
It also helps me to remind her of all the things she’s grateful for that she already has when she’s in naggy, whiny mode over some new toy or thing she wants to do. Taking her attention to all the things she already has does a good job of putting things into perspective for her, especially when I remind her how lucky she is to have all these things that some kids do not.
A Gratitude Bowl or Jar
If you’re like me then you have a few mason jars scattered around the house with no purpose assigned. This is a great time to use them up! Every day, write one thing (or a few) on a sticky note or piece of paper and fold it up. Place it in the jar and then read them to yourself at the end of each month to reflect on all the things and moments you had to give thanks for.
If you’re keen on a more decorative option, I’ve included some beautiful bowls above that can be used for this purpose. Place it in the center of your dinner table, on a mantle or in your entry foyer.
What an awesome time it should be reflecting each month on the wonderful moments of the past 28-31 days! I can’t wait to get started on this one. Munchkin and I will decorate separate jars and take part in this practice each day at least for the next 28 days.
The Gratitude Challenge #28DaysOfThanks
If you’d like to embark with me on this practice of giving thanks every day, I invite you to join my Living My Best Life Facebook Group where I will be posting daily gratitude journal prompts and affirmations. If Facebook isn’t your thing or you know the notifications will get lost and you’ll forget to check in like I do in all of these challenges that I join, then let’s connect via email instead. Enter your details below to get your daily prompts and affirmations. Who doesn’t love a little sunshine in their life every morning?!
I will also be posting daily on Instagram using the hashtag #28DaysOfThanks and as with all my monthly challenges, there’s a prize! If you do decide to join in, you’ll have a chance of winning a book I’ve got my eye on reading next. It’s by Gabby Bernstein and it’s called Judgement Detox. Her book The Universe Has My Back is on my must-read list.
In order to win, you must be on my email list and must have posted on Instagram tagging me (@IrieDiva) and using the hashtag at least once per week. I won’t hold you to posting daily, though I do hope you will be journaling daily! That’s the point!
If you miss the start date of the live challenge in the Facebook Group then my emails are your best bet. Your challenge will start whatever day you sign up so you won’t miss out on anything (and there’s always another chance to win a book when you’re on my email list!)
I’m off to get started on my Gratitude Jars. Will you be joining? Let me know in the comments below and share this with a friend! I am so thankful for your comments and shares. 🙂