The Gratitude Habit
Make Gratitude a Habit - and Improve Your Life
Have you ever considered choosing to create a habit that would add value to your life? Most of the time, when we speak about habits, we are referring to a negative action that offers little benefit in our lives...something that most people would prefer to be able to stop. Many of our "negative" habits got their start as a method of coping with the stresses, choices, and difficult experiences of life.
Over time, and with repetition, you can make just about anything a habit. So why not choose a habit that can benefit your life? Some say that it takes 21 days to form a habit (positive or negative) but the time it takes is, more than likely, dependent upon the specific habit you are forming.
Gratitude is a "value-added" habit that can easily be developed in just minutes a day. After initiating a gratitude practice, it's remarkable how quickly a mind can begin to seek out the good things in life and create happier feelings.
Research has shown that grateful people are more optimistic, feel a greater sense of satisfaction with their lives, are more likely to sleep well and exercise regularly, have a positive attitude, and so much more. Gratitude is also a great support when handling stress and coping with life's difficulties.
The Gratitude Habit Journal - A gratitude journal you can begin on any day of the year.
"Cultivating your relationship with gratitude is a simple path to improving the quality of your life and experiencing more joy and happiness, everyday."
~ from The Gratitude Habit
Gratitude Makes Life Brighter
Although gratitude can effect positive change in your life, it requires dedication, commitment and perseverance. The benefits increase over time.
A gratitude practice is not a process for ignoring life's problems or a means of looking at the world with rose colored glasses. Gratitude seems to help shore up our inner foundation, giving us a stronger platform in which to face the world. It allows us to more easily seek the positives, despite the challenges of everyday life.
The more we rely on gratitude, the greater our ability to see the good. It seems as if our eyes begin to adjust to the light...and many of the things we've taken for granted can now be seen as blessings. (The more you seek, the more you will find.) Our problems don't go away but our life experience can be brighter.
Gratitude adds light to life!!
"What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it - would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have."— - Ralph Marston
Gratitude: Now and Ongoing
One of the wonderful aspects of gratitude is the ability to bring us into the present moment as we experience the feelings of thankfulness. The feelings are NOW. The gratitude is NOW...even if we are feeling grateful for something in the past. It is an experience in the moment.
Maybe that's why gratitude must be an ongoing process and an active presence in our lives for the long term. Yes, it's true that a gratitude practice has the ability to shape our minds and encourage positive thinking...but in this busy world of ours, with multiple priorities, too much excess, too many choices, increasing visual and auditory stimulus, and lots of opportunities for stress, it is too easy to lose our focus. Eventually, without a personal commitment to an ongoing gratitude practice, the benefits would slip away.
Gratitude is a gift you can give yourself, for life, with the opportunity to develop a relationship with it over time.
"Happiness is not based on the occasional grand things that happen in your life. It comes from acknowledging the steady flow of moments to appreciate."
~ from The Gratitude Habit
Keeping a Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is a simple and easy way to make gratitude a habit. Whether you choose to use a blank book, pad, The Gratitude Habit Journal and Workbook, or another published gratitude journal, keeping a log of your appreciations is a wonderful reminder of the things that make you smile. The process of recording your gratitudes encourages awareness of all there is to be grateful for.
A gratitude journal can be used in just minutes a day, at any time that works for you. Using your journal in the morning is a great way to begin the day. Gratitude in the afternoon may be a perfect way to boost your energy. Ending the day with a gratitude journal, helps review the day's gifts before getting a good night's sleep. Whatever time of day you choose, you are likely to feel calmer, handle stress better, and increase your sense of well being.
Expand Your Gratitude
Rather than making a list of your "gratitudes" for every journal entry, try writing a short paragraph, occasionally, to expand on your appreciation of one thing. For example: "I am grateful for Sunday mornings, for the time I have to write before getting out of bed, for the light that streams through the windows and the way the light effects the colors of the room, for not feeling rushed and having the opportunity to experience the calm before the day begins. I so appreciate Sunday mornings!!"
"Habits can be very powerful allies when we intentionally create them...make Gratitude a habit."
~from The Gratitude Habit
Wondering What to Include in a Gratitude Journal?
Here are some ideas.
There's so much to be grateful for...big events and small moments, precious gifts and simple blessings. Any given day is filled with much to appreciate.
So, if you've stayed away from starting a gratitude journal because you don't know how to get started or you can't imagine having enough things to write in it, maybe this list will help. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who adds value to your life? Who do you love (pets included)?
- Who do you enjoy spending time with? Who have you learned from?
- What makes you smile?
- What do you love to do? What would you love to do more of?
- What memories are precious to you?
- What special moments did you have today? What made you smile?
- What do you appreciate about yourself? ...skills, abilities, traits, etc.
- What places hold meaning for you? Where do you enjoy spending time?'
- How do you like to express your creativity?
- What foods do you enjoy?
- What delights your senses? ...sounds, sights, etc.
- Have you learned something new? What is it?
- What things help you throughout the day? ...tools, technology, kitchenware, etc.
- What do you use to communicate with others? ...cell phones, etc.
- What do you tend to take for granted?
And here are some additional ideas to get you thinking: spending time with family, a smile from a stranger, a great cup of coffee, a beautiful flower, an enjoyable book, a walk or hike in the woods, a wonderful cloud formation, catching sight of a rainbow, great weather, getting to stay indoors during a rainy day, the toothbrush, the frying pan, a glass of water, and so much more...
Do you have a gratitude practice?
Do you prefer to use a gratitude journal OR some other means of keeping gratitude active in your life?
Blank Journals to Record Your Gratitude
Many people prefer a blank journal to record their daily appreciations. There are many beautiful journals available in different sizes, colors, and designs. The choices are endless, from elegant to simple notebook. You can find many options at your local bookstore and online.
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."— - Albert Schweitzer
Gratitude - Moving Art - A Video by Louie Schwartzberg
Louie Schwartzberg showed this video during his talk at the TED conferences in 2011. He is an award-winning film maker and cinematographer. This beautifully made short film is on Gratitude and Happiness and has made the rounds of websites all over the internet. If you haven't seen it yet, definitely consider checking it out. And if you would like to see Schwartzberg's TED talk in addition to his film, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ.
Parenting the Gratitude Habit
"Expressing gratitude for what you already have opens the door to allow more blessings to flow into your life."
~ from The Gratitude Habit
One of My All Time Favorite Kids Books
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.”— - Buddha
Gratitude helps you to smile...and when you are smiling it's hard to stay focused on the worries, stresses, and problems of life.
More on Gratitude
For more on gratitude, including articles, quotes, images, tips and more, visit: The Gratitude Habit Journal Blog.