Start a Daily Gratitude Practice to Feel Happier!
Here are some suggested tips at starting your daily gratitude practice and guidelines for feeling happier in your everyday life, no matter what challenges you face.
1. Commit to expressing Gratitude.
This is a spiritual practice that gains momentum and accumulates energy over time and with practice. The ego will find every reason under the sun why you can’t possibly commit to do this practice every day. Practicing gratitude is like taking the trash out from your kitchen and replacing that by bringing the beautiful flowers from your garden back inside. This practice shifts the energy and vibration of your mind, body and emotional state. Gratitude doesn’t seem to come as effortlessly as grumbling and complaining, which is common for an undisciplined ego mind. Waiting for the resistance to pass is futile and unproductive in setting up new and healthy habits for a positive lifestyle. Just do it.
Even when you are exhausted and can hardly summon up the energy to shift into a feeling and sensation of gratitude, when you have to force yourself to begin, this practice of gratitude still has great magnetizing power.
2. Just Do it.
Sit down with pen and paper or at your computer and start, “I am grateful for___________.” Maybe you will have to stop there for a minute and wait because you just can’t think of anything in that moment. Take a breath in, relax and allow the silence to surround you. Surrender to the moment. Something inside you will begin to shift. The feeling and the words to express them will eventually come. This force that you are tapping into is much bigger than you and it is bigger than your problem, no matter how big you believe that problem is. That tidal wave of fear that is overwhelming you is not all there is. There is something so much larger and more powerful inside you than that. Your feeling of gratitude is a bridge shining light across those dark and troubled waters to lead you to a comfortable resting place on the other side.
3. Find ways to Say it or Write it down.
In all types of relationships with others even when we are very busy, we can sometimes tell each other what we are grateful for during our conversations. Telling people how much we appreciate them, care for them, through any means of expression, whether writing emails or having phone conversations, shifts our energies and how we receive back their energies. This will create mutual reciprocal energy exchanges.
4. Wrap yourself in Gratitude. Feel it.
Some days you will write or say words without actually feeling a shred of gratitude. That is fine, just allow yourself to witness that state. Just do it anyway. In the moments you do feel the sensation and you can summon up the feeling of gratitude in your heart, let it emanate and saturate through every cell in your body. Embody the feeling of gratitude in a color that infuses your cells. Place your hands on your heart or place them in prayer. Move into the feeling of gratitude. Aspire to a fullness in your heart, no matter what is going on around you.
5. Choose a Time of Day for your Practice.
You may want to do this when you first wake in the morning or late at night before you go to sleep. As you create a regular schedule, it is easier to commit to the daily practice of feeling and listing items you are grateful for.
6. Practice Present-Moment Gratitude.
As you move through your day, pause now and then when you remember something or someone in your life that you appreciate. Hold the feeling and think how grateful you feel for having that experience in your life. As you are doing something in the day, cooking breakfast, sleeping in a bed, having time with a cherished pet, as you are in that activity, pause to think and feel “I am grateful”. Moving through your day with awareness and grace in this way will mean that when you do sit down to write your gratitude list those things will come to mind.
7. Share your Appreciation and Gratitude with Others.
Partner with someone to share being grateful. Whether a friend, your child or life partner, you will keep each other going and that sense of shared commitment to that person that will give you the push you need to write your gratitude list on those days when it just seems too hard. Reading what the other person has written helps you to access your own gratitude more easily, and it is fun to watch your gratitude lists and emails grow longer and longer and longer! You can see your progress in what you feel grateful for.
8. Don’t Stop Once you See or Feel Results!
When we first begin to see results from practicing daily gratitude lists, many people think that is the time to stop practicing gratitude for a while. The practice of gratitude has an energetic yield that will add to the positive note of your day and seep through everything you do. Practicing gratitude is a lifestyle that once you feel the gratitude for simple things in your life, stays as an attitude that you interpret events through in your life. Practicing gratitude reinforces positive thoughts and behaviors that support more positive manifestations to happen in your life.
9. Allow yourself to be Human.
Some days you may feel grumpy and grumble, if you must. You may miss a day from stating your gratitude here and there. Write “I am grateful I am writing my gratitude list” a few times if you can think of nothing else. Do not punish yourself, and beware of the little voice that says "You’ve missed a day. You’ve failed miserably at being grateful!” Dust yourself off and the next day get back up in the saddle! Do not give up!
Practicing gratitude changes your vibration and supports your mental and emotional well-being into feeling happier. So this brings us to a very important question. What really makes most people happy? How can we all find and feel more happiness in our day to day life, in the midst of all of this collective pain and confusion?
Given all the various challenges we face today, as a part of the human race, it is clear we have no real control over the external, the larger environment or the outcome. This means we must change all of our priorities to value the internal and intrinsic parts of ourselves as the most critical parts to preserve and feel happiness. This means a lot of what we can control is how we think and what we move towards. Most of our happiness relies on our personal attitudes. No matter who we are and what level of spiritual development we have, all humans can relate to these pillars in order to remember how we each can find happiness, while seeing or experiencing personal or global turmoil.
The Four Pillars for being Happy:
- EXPANSION: Personal growth towards spiritual authenticity and having a variation of life experiences to create that expansion
- CONNECTION: Having meaningful Human relationships and cultivating deep Connections in our life
- GRATITUDE: Practicing appreciation and gratitude for what you have, every day
- SERVICE: Being of Service and making Contributions to the larger whole, making a difference
Happiness and gratitude is an attitude, that we all can create more of every day. There are many things that we are facing in the world today, and in our own lives that are challenging and painful. This fact does not have to change one’s ability to feel happy every day of your life, even while seeing the larger picture. As we become more expanded in our personal growth, we begin to experience the feelings of connection with all of life. We then can choose to be grateful that we can make a difference through our intentional service to the whole.