I learned a bit about gratitude this summer. Kenny and I went to Glacier National Park for a 10-day hiking trip. Unfortunately, weather prevented us from hiking all but three of the days we were there. This led to quite a bit of unexpected downtime in White Fish, Montana.
On our many walks around the town, I browsed in bookstores to find a new gratitude journal. My vision was a journal with prompts for different ways to explore gratitude with lots of room for doodling. I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
In the week we had in our little hotel room with a view of the parking lot, I started writing the journal I wanted – Intentional Gratitude. I finished it over the summer with input from friends, a survey, and by looking at formats and art I liked. I asked my cousin for some great photos, bought some doodle artwork from Etsy and got it done! Through the process, I researched and thought a lot about what living a life of gratitude looks like. Here are 10 ways:
1. Start a Gratitude Journal.
Using a gratitude journal on a daily basis is a game-changer. You can use Intentional Gratitude (my journal with prompts), any journal, or a blank notebook. It will set the tone for your day by focusing on what’s going right with your life.
2. Look at your day differently.
Look for the silver lining in everyday circumstances. For instance, when your child returns home late, be thankful that he or she is safe. When you get to the top of the mountain and it’s raining, be grateful that you made it to the top!
3. Think positively about your life.
It’s easy to think about what’s not going well with your life. Instead, try focusing on what you’re grateful for. Tell people, every day, what you appreciate about them. It can be something very simple, like “I love your smile; Thank you for making my day.”
4. Carry a token of gratitude.
Place something special to you somewhere you will see it every day as a reminder to be thankful for your many blessings. I have a “gratitude rock” that a friend gave me. It hangs from my car’s rear view mirror and reminds me to be grateful. This helps me embrace what’s going on right in my world, rather than focusing on the guy who cut me off in traffic.
5. Do something you love every single day.
What do you love to do? Take time away from the busyness of your life each day to do at least one thing you love. Smell the flowers, talk to a family member, go for a hike, take a bath, enjoy a hobby, or make fun memories with someone.
6. Take charge of your own personal and professional development.
You are in charge of your own life, and any positive change is up to you – not someone or something else. Rather than blame your circumstances for any unhappiness, learn how to take steps to change them – or your response to them. Take a class, learn from experts, or get the coaching you need to move forward to grow personally and professionally.
7. Pause and reflect.
Take time to enjoy the world you live in. Breathe. Look around you and spend some quiet time outside. Take a walk, watch a sunset, and simply notice your surroundings. A simple way to start this is to PUT THE DARN PHONE DOWN! Just sayin’.
8. Future shift your thinking.
Most of us focus on the here and now, but it’s just as important to think of what you want your future to look like. Take steps to make that happen. Set a goal and a plan for reaching it. Take one small step today.
9. Pay it forward.
Pay attention to those who need a little help – the person in front of you in line who’s 93 cents short, the lady who needs help juggling her “stuff”, or your neighbors who may need help. It will have a huge impact on them, and on you as well.
10. Don’t forget to appreciate yourself.
The most important type of gratitude to practice is to appreciate yourself. Talk nicely to yourself and tell the nay-sayers in your head to simply shut up.
Try a few of these gratitude suggestions and start living a life filled with gratitude and positive energy.
Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.
In addition, she hosts a twice-annual Women’s Summit that brings women together to learn how to become more confident communicators.
Join my free Facebook Group, Confident Communication for Women. This group is for women who want to build confidence in their communication skills as well as support and network with other amazing women.