I believe in the power of having a gratitude practice. When life gives you lemons, you can choose to look on the bright side and to use those lemons to make lemonade, or even better: a lemon meringue pie.
I’ve been writing down a list of 5 things I am grateful for almost every day for the last year. Before then, I was already quite a grateful person and managed to feel grateful for the things I had even when times were rough. But actually writing down what I am grateful for has made a huge difference.
We often focus on the things we don’t have, where we are lacking in life, and the negative things that happen, and at times, it can be near impossible not to think about things at all. I’m not saying you should never focus on the negative things in life, but don’t lose sight of the things that are good.
Don’t forget to count your blessings.
Write Down the Small Stuff
You don’t have to write down big things like “I am grateful that the sun came up and the apocalypse didn’t break out”. Just write down small, simple things like that you are grateful for the cup of coffee in your hand, the hug from your child, or the time you got to take a warm bath.
Gratitude Gives You Perspective
Sometimes, you can find gratitude for what a bad experience has taught you or for a window of opportunity that it opened in your life. If you lost a job that forced you to work crazy hours and made it hard for you to spend time with your family, be grateful that you have the opportunity to find a job that will enable you to have more family time at work. If you’ve failed again after failing to lose weight 3000 times, be grateful for the lessons you learned along the way.
Tony Robbins says you should ask yourself: “How is the worst thing that happened to me actually the best thing that happened to me?” A gratitude practice can help you figure this out and learn to notice things to be grateful for in tough times.
Gratitude Lowers Anxiety
It is much harder to feel super stressed and anxious and to feel like the sky is falling when you are staring at a list of things you are grateful for. I have found this strategy to be quite helpful. If I’m feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or down, I sometimes start writing out a list of things I am grateful for. By the time I reach the end of the list, I feel much better.
A gratitude practice will help you to stop taking things for granted. It can help you have a more positive outlook on life, reduce anxiety, and learn to see the silver lining. I highly recommend a gratitude practice to anyone and everyone.
I keep thinking of what Penelope Cruz’s character (Maria) said to Scarlett Johansson’s character (Cristina) in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She told her that she suffered from what she called “chronic dissatisfaction”.
You don’t want that condition. A gratitude list a day can keep chronic dissatisfaction away.