You’ve heard of gratitude practices and you’ve seen all the gratitude journalling prompts on Pinterest. But can practicing daily gratitude be as life-changing as it’s hyped up to be?
Consider gratitude as one pillar of support and self-care. Alone, it’s probably not going to change your life. But it could have positive knock-on effects and help build or cultivate other pillars of support.
And, together, all of that support could be life-changing!
Writing daily, weekly or monthly gratitude lists could also give you an anchor and comfort in the small moments, big events or everyday things that you are grateful for. You could think of it as a practice of emotional self-care.
And actively noticing and voicing gratitude helps you become more aware of those moments and seek out others that you might feel grateful for too.
How to start practicing gratitude
If you’re not already incorporating a daily gratitude practice, start small. Release yourself from the expectation that you should fill a 10-item list of things you’re grateful for.
By not forcing ourselves to fill a list for the sake of it, we’re more likely to focus on moments or things that genuinely brought us joy, contentment or gratitude.
Flip the switch
If staring at an empty page with the prompt gratitude isn’t working for you, consider what brought you joy, what felt blissful or even felt comforting.
A gratitude list doesn’t have to just be things you’re eternally grateful for.
Do it fresh
Not morning fresh - memory fresh. Take 5 minutes at the end of the day to reflect on the events, feelings and interactions that felt good. Recounting our day can help us set better intentions or be more mindful when experiencing the same feelings again in the future.
Don’t force it
Don’t write out a list filled with what you feel you should be grateful for. Enter your gratitude practice free of judgement and pressure, knowing that this exists only for yourself.
If you’re feeling grateful for something, it’s worthwhile asking why you’re feeling grateful? Is it a feeling it gave you? A desired outcome? How does it align to your goals?
Expressing why we have gratitude for something can feel challenging, but looking deeper can help you understand what you value on a personal level and help you work towards your goals in a more meaningful way.