Over the past few years I have become aware of how my daily gratitude practice has changed how I look at everyday situations and in exchange has changed me.
Many people are born with more optimistic personalities while others typically see the negative. While I feel that I am wired toward being positive, I have also been through many dark times in life. There have been moments when it felt like life was throwing everything it could at me. Although I can’t remember when I exactly began my gratitude practice, I believe it was during these dark moments when I began to look for the good.
What I have discovered is gratitude comes from the small moments in life. It is these small moments that lead us to the larger moments.
Acknowledging the small gifts allows you to be grateful when the world seems dark.
During my Mom’s illness, while I was working full time and helping to provide care, I remember a specific moment of trying to handle a situation. My first thought immediately went to what I was grateful for and did have. I stopped myself in that moment and realized that the years of practicing gratitude had actually trained my brain. In the midst of my mother dying, I was embracing gratitude.
I did not get to this place overnight. I also have days where it is hard to be grateful. I’ve shared how I have allowed myself to have a pity party. However, each day I purposely stop and express my thankfulness for the good I have been given. As a result, I am not the person I could have become. With the losses of the past few years, I could have easily become bitter toward life. Sadly, I have encountered many who allow their bitterness to overtake the blessings in their life.
Beginning a gratitude practice is simple. It takes nothing more than a small notebook or an app on your phone. Before going to bed each night, acknowledge at least three things that you are grateful for during the day. Perhaps someone let you pull out in front of them in traffic (and it helped because you were running late) or held the door open (rather than let it close in your face). There have been times when I was grateful someone smiled at me!
There may be days when you find yourself using the same items. I encourage people to do that when the days are especially rough but always look for one extra moment. I promise there is one!
As you continue this practice, it will become a habit.
My daily thoughts and life have been changed because of these moments of gratitude.
Do you have a gratitude practice? How has it changed who you are?