Succulents, spices and social media. Mondays, podcasts, tiny houses. Pen pals, pockets and alliteration. Smoothies, yoga and art. Hugs, workshops and swearing. Bare feet, good listeners, sunrises. Mind power, people and love.
Every night as I’m falling asleep I thank the universe for everything I can name in one breath. I’ve done this ever since I was a little girl, and it’s become a tiny ritual that I hold sacred. I always feel guilty when I end the prayer because there’s so much more to name. But I drift to sleep each night with a smile on my face.
You know that quote by Oscar Wilde that goes a little something like,
With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?
The whole point of gratitude is that it changes your entire perspective on life. It helps you see things differently. We’re not simply acknowledging things we appreciate. We’re molding our world views from a place of gratitude. By noticing the good things, we’re drawing attention to them, focusing on them and ultimately living by them.
Keeping a gratitude journal is effective because we’re emphasizing the good. You could keep an “unfortunate events” journal, but I suspect it wouldn’t carry the same appeal. Day to day we have both positive and negative dialogues with ourselves. Happy things happen and we laugh. Crappy things happen and we’re bummed. But these moments are so fleeting that the ones that stick are the ones we choose. Writing down the good parts helps them linger.
When we groan, grumble and complain, life sucks. But when we really pause to give thanks to all that surrounds us, we can’t help but feel totally and utterly fulfilled. Fun little shift.
Pay lots attention to the things you love. Dwell on them. Hug them, swaddle them, hang on tight. Center your world around the stuff you’re thankful for. And the stuff you’re thankful for will become your world.
Here are some ideas to infuse our lives with gratitude.
1. Make giving thanks a ritual. Breathe in thanks as the sun rises. Appreciate out loud while you’re driving. Whisper a gratitude prayer as you lay in bed. Close your eyes once a day and thank the universe softly, quietly, with love and intention.
2. Send thank you cards. Send cards that say “I appreciate you.” “Thank you for being the person you are.”
3. Engage people face to face. Shake hands. Look someone in the eye and pause there. Thank them with the smile wrinkles at the corners of your eyes. Hug them. Touch souls.
4. Make it romantic. Scribble appreciation on your mirror. Leave notes for yourself in your car. Plant anonymous notes in public places.
5. Make gratitude lists. Man buns, handstands and loud music. Succulents, spices and social media. Pen pals, pockets and alliteration. Smoothies, yoga and art. Bare feet, workshops and good listeners. Be inspired by lists.
6. Be kind. Give compliments. Thank the clerk as you check out (but really thank them). Give out high fives. Be that guy who makes that other guy’s day.