How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

It’s easy to look at life and see what you don’t have. Not enough money, need a better car, job, life, etc. For some reason in the American culture, it is not as easy to be grateful as it is to complain about what is going wrong or what happened to us recently. Creating a daily practice of gratitude can change your life.

In an office, I used to work in, at the beginning of our bi-weekly staff meetings, I would have each attendee name one thing they were grateful for personally or professionally. Each person would take a piece of paper, write what they were grateful for and then say the gratitude aloud. We would then put the pieces of paper with the gratitudes written on them in a bucket. Doing this exercise changed the whole tone of the meeting in a positive way. You could see people relax, become happier, and show appreciation for people and things that they might have taken for granted had we not practiced this exercise.  At the end of the year, we would then revisit all the things we were grateful for over the year. It was such a positive and heart-warming experience.

Being grateful is not easy for everyone. I recall asking one colleague what they were grateful for and it was hard for them to come up with one single thing. I wondered what must be going on in this person’s life that they can’t find one thing positive in their life. If you too feel your life is in a similar situation, hopefully after you read this blog, you will find at least one thing to be grateful for.

I have been told by many spiritual teachers and books I have read that you can change your happiness level just by being grateful, and I believe it. Being grateful makes you look at things differently and find the positive nugget in what may otherwise be felt as a negative experience. One spiritual teacher calls this lack thinking.

A few years ago, to work towards increasing the happiness level in my life, I began to keep a gratitude journal. Each night I write five plus things I am grateful for that day. It can be something as simple as ice cream (that ends up on my list many nights) or a call from my sister. When you practice finding things to be grateful for in your life, it changes your mindset and creates a new positive habit after you practice it consistently.

Looking for moments to be grateful also helps you stay in the present moment instead of thinking negatively about the past or being anxious about the future. I began my journal in 2014 and continue to utilize the journal today.  To help you see how simple it is, I thought I’d share some of it with you:

2014+

  • Carlsbad beach
  • Free crystal necklace
  • Free psychic reading during fair
  • Grilled fish tacos
  • 1:1 with Ramona
  • Johnny B’s friendship
  • Gluten Free Brownies
  • Home cooked meal
  • Greg’s friendship
  • Being able to help Megan
  • Lunch and shopping with Katherine
  • Having a day off
  • Yoga for backs
  • Cubs game
  • Walked away from a bad date
  • Visit from Tobi, Isabella and Reese
  • Clean car
  • A lot of clean laundry
  • Learning new ways to be happy
  • Colder weather
  • Cuddling with Nico (my cute puppy)
  • My new purse
  • Nap on the couch
  • Habitat Restore
  • Dog park
  • YMCA
  • Crab Shack (I love crab!)
  • Lynn
  • Good gym workout

If you are a friend or family member and you are not on this list, don’t worry, I am sure you are in my journal. I am grateful for every one of my friends and family members; thank you for being a part of my life.

The gratitude words listed above may seem simple or meaningless, but as I sit here reading my journal and typing out these words, I am experiencing a sense of joy all over again. Not only did I get joy the first time I wrote them, but I am receiving joy again by reading them years later.

Can you imagine? You don’t have to take a pill, drink a beer, or eat sugar to be happier; you can simply learn to be grateful for the things in your life. When you reflect on your own life, do you practice gratitude or do you look at what is lacking in your life? If the answer isn’t gratitude, are you ready to create a happier life? Are ready to start your gratitude practice? It’s free, only takes a few minutes, and can change your life!

So, you might ask, where do I begin? First, you want to choose a method that is right for you and that you could see yourself doing regularly. For me, a journal next to my bedside works well and a note on my iPhone. At night, I will grab my journal and write a few words down. If I am out and about and I want to add a few words of gratitude, I open my iPhone and add some words to my note.

I recommend you start with a list of five things you are grateful for each day until it becomes a habit. Once it becomes a habit, you can increase the number of words you write down or type. To create a household of happiness, I recommend getting your children or significant others involved. On the days, you are not feeling great, I would recommend revisiting your gratitude list. You can start your gratitude list today by adding your comments to the bottom of this blog. I’d love to hear what you are grateful for and for you to start your journey with me today.

 

I am grateful for the time you took to read my blog!

________

Tamara Small

Happiness Now
Clinical Hypnosis & Coaching

619.880.7010
tamaraonhappinessnow@gmail.com
TamaraonHappinessnow.com