10 Ways to Practice Gratitude and Why It’s Important

gratitude

Happy November friends! I seriously cannot believe it’s already November. I feel like the snow was JUST melting off the mountains and I have no idea where this summer went!

This whole year has been a weird one for me. And a tough one. And a scary one. I’ve lost a lot. I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve cried a lot. But as I write this post from my new desk in my new apartment, I can’t help but feel filled with gratitude.

grat·i·tude – noun – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Gratitude has been coming up a lot for me lately. Sometimes I think it’s the true cure for healing a broken heart… for me at least. Through practicing gratitude I’ve been able to shed a lot of negativity that weighed so heavy on my shoulders and filled my heart with so much blackness. Something about practicing gratitude creates a shift in our perception from dark to light. From fear to love. This shift in perception then boosts our happiness.

Something about practicing gratitude creates a shift in our perception from dark to light. From fear to love.Click To Tweet

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you may have missed that I just attended a conference called Lead With Love. I went to a few of Deepak Chopra’s lectures and something he kept saying really stuck with me.

“If you have a happy friend, you’re happiness will go up by 15%. If your happy friend has a happy friend that you don’t know, it goes up another 10%.”

Practicing gratitude increases happiness. Whether it’s on a singular level, a relationship level, or a work level, when you practice gratitude you can feel more positive emotions, appreciate what’s around you as well as your experiences, improve your health, and build stronger relationships – AKA increasing your happiness. Imagine if everyone practiced some gratitude and raised their vibrations while keeping in mind Deepak Chopra’s happiness equation. Happiness would spread like wildfire if more people practiced gratitude.

Related: 9 Silly First World Problems That Make Me Grateful

The good thing about gratitude is it’s easy, it doesn’t take a lot of time, and it feels really freaking good. There are tons of ways to practice gratitude but these are my favorite so just take what works for you and leave the rest.

10 Ways To Practice Gratitude

1. Keep a gratitude journal

I like to keep a little journal in my purse. When I feel myself getting down or worked up about something, I pull out my journal and write what I’m thankful for.

2. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and/or what they do

I’ve been taking extra time to appreciate my boyfriend and I feel our bond getting even stronger. He gets stressed about work so I like to tell him how awesome of a job he’s doing. He also does all the cooking in our house so I like to tell him how grateful I am for his cooking and how delicious his food is! Taking just a couple minutes to show appreciation for the someone special in your life can go a long way for you both.

3. Add at least one random act of kindness to your day

Slow down and hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, help a older person with their groceries. When you do something nice for someone else, they are going to feel loved and/or appreciated and your heart will be fill with good vibes.

4. Share your gratitude at the dinner table

Put your phones away at dinner and talk about all the things you’re grateful for from your day. So many of us are quick to complain about the things that went wrong in our day so not only is this a great way to practice gratitude and strengthen your relationship with others but it’s also a great way to start conversations on a positive note.

And if you live alone, send a text to a few people expressing your gratitude or call someone you’re close to and have a positive and grateful conversation about your days.

5. Thank the service people in your life

Back in Florida, Mike and I used to bar hop a lot. Mike was always so good about sitting down at a bar, introducing himself to the bartender, asking the bartender’s name and how their day and night has been. You have no idea how many bartenders genuinely thanked him for taking the time to ask about them. People in the service industry hear people complaining all day long. It doesn’t take much for you to be that ray of sunshine they need to get through the rest of their shift.

Ever since then I always make at point to slow down and appreciate the service people in my life. From the guys cooking breakfast and the barista’s at my favorite coffee shop to my hair colorist to the bus driver… I slow down and appreciate everyone.

6. When you catch yourself talking negative, flip to positive

It’s so easy to gossip, to talk shit, or to complain. Try going gossip free. It feels really good. And if others around you are gossiping or complaining, you don’t need to call them out. Simple shift the conversation to something positive and I’m 99% sure they’ll eventually catch on.

7. Start your day with thanks

Every morning before I get out of bed I put my hands over my heart and quickly give thanks for another day, for the big comfy bed supporting me, and the earth that is supporting my bed. And the days when I don’t feel like being thankful because life just feels so miserable and I don’t want to push through another day, I give thanks anyways. And you know what? I always feel at least a little better and find the courage to get out of bed and start my day.

8. Compliment others often

But being genuine is key. Don’t just tell someone how much you love their outfit when it’s literally the most frightening thing you’ve ever seen. But when someone has a smile or a laugh that you can’t help but smile about, tell them their smile is contagious. When someone has a really good idea, don’t just agree but tell them how awesome their idea is. Complimenting others feels good for both the giver and the receiver.

9. Take in some nature

Something about nature is really magical. There’s this calming feeling that comes with feeling connected to something bigger than just ourselves. Try to spend some time in nature every day. Whether you color, hike, do some yoga, or just sit and listen to the sounds while taking in the air, time in nature is good for the soul and helps find appreciation for life.

10. Find gratitude in the tough times and trust the path

No one wants to be dumped or cheated on or fired or embarrassed or poor or whatever else may happen but we’re all going to experience tough times at some point. Some times will be tougher than others and some people will walk harder paths but finding gratitude is key to coming out of the darkness. Trusting the path will help you find gratitude when you feel like there is nothing to be thankful for.

How do you like to practice gratitude? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

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I’m Michelle, the founder of life & style blog, She’s Not So Basic. On the blog I write about all things related to style advice, self-love, finding happiness, and so much more while wearing both my heart and my scars on my sleeve. My path through life has been anything but basic and it’s left me feeling lost, lonely, and insecure. Every day is a journey towards feeling confident and finding freedom one not-so-basic outfit at a time. Connect with me to see how we can work together, to tell me your #NotSoBasic story, or just to say hi!

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