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Cultivating Gratitude

Some tangible ideas for cultivating gratitude in your life.

Keep a gratitude journal. Each day take a minute to write 2-3 things you are grateful for. It will become easier the more you do it.

Bored? Play the Alphabet Game, think of something you are grateful for each letter of the alphabet.

Don't compare yourself to others, recognize that everyone is unique in their own way. Focus on the amazing qualities you have to offer!

Focus on the little things. Are you wearing a warm sweater? Did you eat today? Can you see the sky? Think about what matters to you!

Meditate or practice mindfulness. When you slow down it gives you the opportunity to notice and appreciate the little things.

Pick a time and day to tell someone you love what you appreciate about them. It's ideal if you can do this in person but if you can't a text or call will do!

Observe your speech patterns or ask other people what words you use often. Are they words like suck, lame, etc? Make a list of positive words to try and integrate them in your conversations.

Buy a pack of blank cards from the dollar store and make a point to write thank you cards. You don't have to wait until you get a gift. Saying thank you for small gestures is also meaningful.

Hang out with positive people, it will rub off on you!

Volunteer in your community. It will build your confidence and help you appreciate the posiitive aspects of your life.

Travel, whether it's far from home or an hour away. Getting out of your community can give you a new perspective and help you feel more grateful.

Start the day with gratitude affirmations. Set time aside to state outloud what you are grateful for.

Make a gratitude collage, collect images of things you're grateful for. Once its done put it somewhere you'll see it everyday.

Reflect on how far you've come, what would your past self be grateful for?

When you make a to do, list supplement it with a blessings list. For each task include something you are grateful for. This helps you make progress while appreciating your current blessings.

When you feel like your life is lacking make it a point to give or share with someone else. This will help you recognize how much you actually have.

Unplug and get outside. Take a gratitude walk. Bundle up and take time to notice your surroundings, notice what you feel grateful for.

Thank people who never get thanked like the bus driver, the custodian, the crossing guard, etc.

Instead of a gratitude journal try a gratitude jar. Cut strips of paper, write one reason you are grateful each day and plop it in the jar. When you're feeling low review the jar entries.

If you are having a hard time with gratitude try this alternative

Let yourself feel! Appreciate your ability to feel, recognize that feeling things like sadness and anger are ok. Even it you feel like you'll never be happy don't give up.

Create an enjoyable routine. Make time for YOU to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Pair it with something you like (like a nice cup of tea). Soon gratitude will be a habit!

Try to find the silver lining no matter how small it might be. For example maybe you hate taking the bus, but are thankful it gives you time to read. This takes practice so be patient.

Download the Thinkfull app. It has suggestions on how to manage stress and cultivate gratitude.

The world we live in can seem sad and scary. Seek out positive stories and share them. It will lift your mood and the mood of those around you.

If you are going through a hard time or experiencing something difficult think about what you are learning through this process.This might be a difficult exercise and it might not be obvious at first but don't give up.

When you get a compliment do you downplay it? Next time try to accept it gratefully, before you discount what someone has said let it soak in and really listen. Smile and say thanks, you deserve it!

Start with those closest to you. Spend time with people you care about, it's an easy place to start cultivating gratitude.

Do things that boost your mood, such as getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. Starting from a good place will allow gratitude to flow more easily.

If you need help getting started close your eyes and observe your five senses. What are you grateful for based on what you hear, smell, taste, see and feel?

With time and practice you might find it easier to generate gratitude. Don't stop once you start feeling more grateful, but also forgive yourself for the days you miss. Keep going!