June 25, 2015

Gratitude in Action: 5 Practices You Should Start Today

By Amanda Fernandes, Project Happiness Regional Director, Caribbean

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward.

Nurturing an attitude of gratitude benefits the expresser as much as the receiver. In 4 Benefits of an Attitude to Gratitude we explored how developing an appreciation for the people and things in your life, enhances your existence personally, physically and socially. This week we want take this a step further and share with you 5 different gratitude practices you can implement almost immediately, and begin your quest to a healthy, happier, more mindful you!

Gratitude Journal

shutterstock_188133347Your Gratitude Journal can be the most basic notebook available or you can splurge on a beautifully bound journal. Regardless of its outward appearance, make the journal your physical repository for the things you are grateful for by recording three things you are appreciative of each day. According to Happier Human, a five-minute-a-day Gratitude Journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent, which has the same impact as doubling your income!

Grateful Friends

shutterstock_141036070Identify a friend who shares your desire to nurture a more grateful approach to life, and partner with them to share what you are grateful for each day. You can call, text or email one another to identify anything – big or small – that you truly appreciate. In the beginning the exercise may seem challenging, but it will very quickly become one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling parts of your daily routine.

Thank You Card or Letter

shutterstock_192326522Think of someone who has enhanced your life in some way and take the time to write them a Thank You card or letter. Ensure that the letter is heartfelt and be specific about what you are thankful for. This simple act of expressing gratitude in a tangible manner will be well received by the recipient, but it has also been shown to significantly increase one’s own happiness and feelings of self-satisfaction.

Gratitude Jar (or Bowl)

shutterstock_105499625You can start one of these with your family, friends, co-workers or even in your classroom. Every time you gather, whether it be for dinner, limes, staff meetings or class, have each person write down three things they are grateful for on a piece of paper and place it in the Gratitude Jar. Once all have been collected, designate one person to read out what each person has written – this sets a collective intention for gratitude within the group.  Similar to the Gratitude Journal, you can go simple with any container or you can designate and decorate a specific jar or bowl for this exercise.

Say “Thank You”

shutterstock_195701963Admit it, there are many times that you forget the magic words: “Thank You” – you may be busy checking emails on your phone while getting lunch and forget to say it to the cashier, or you may be engrossed in a conversation while having your gas pumped and innocently drive off without thanking the pump attendant. These are both seemingly mundane tasks but the actions of these individuals benefit us in simple ways, and no service rendered or act of kindness (no matter how big or small) should go unacknowledged. So make a habit of thanking the people whose small acts of kindness make a big impact on your life.

Today, we’re challenging you to choose at least one of the above practices to introduce to your daily routine and note the positive changes in your attitude as time goes by.

Additionally, if you can think of other ways to practice gratitude feel free to share it in the comments below!