How did you get started on practicing gratitude?
I first came across the idea of gratitude as a practice in my 20s and I was blown away by how simple and effective it can be, so I have tried to practice it ever since.
What difference has it made to your life?
Practicing gratitude has had a profound impact on my life. It’s a great start to the day – it’s like my mini mantra that acts as a frame for my day, and it can also help in those moments when things are getting me down. I find it to be a great counterpoint to my inner critic or anxiety – It’s a great leveller and helps me to overcome the critical voices in my head. Choosing three things that I’m grateful for right now can be the trigger to get me into a more positive mindset – or just give me a different perspective on things. It’s also a great way of returning me to the present moment which reminds me that I have choices.
I have also found that over the years, my mind automatically goes to what I can feel grateful for – it’s a cumulative thing. I appreciate the little every day things more, which in turn effects my outlook on life. I find myself looking for the good in things, which is energising and perhaps most importantly of all, gives me a sense of who I am and what I do ‘being enough’.
What are the specific gratitude habits/tips you’d like to share with our readers?
I start each day checking in with myself “What am I grateful for about this moment today?” I like to try to find 3 things.
At the end of each day, write down 3 things that happened in the day that you are grateful for, and sometimes even, three things that you are grateful to yourself for having done. This is brilliant for building confidence, and your own inner sense of being enough.
If you find yourself thinking that you lack something (“I’m no good at this”) see if you can turn your attention to something in that moment that you CAN do. A gratitude practice is, in part, all about replacing a sense of lack with a sense of fullness – of what IS there.
I have to say, that even though I’ve been practicing gratitude for about thirty years, it’s one of those things like keeping fit – you have to keep doing it to keep benefitting. So, even if it’s taking a pause throughout the day, or with every cuppa that you have to say, “what am I grateful for now”, it’s worth it.
First published in My Weekly.