If you’re like me then you will start most years with a resolution to meditate more but, before you know it, your meditation time turns into an excuse to curl up in bed with your eyes closed in the middle of the day. Just me?
Meditating and practising gratitude are both great ways to improve your mental health. So if you’re struggling with traditional meditation then here are five different ways to establish (and benefit from) a daily gratitude practice.
1. Gratitude journalling
Make a note of three things in your diary or bullet journal. If you’re such a busy bee that there isn’t room then how about treating yourself to one of the lovely gratitude journals that are available? Here are three journals for you to check out.
- Gratitude Journal: 100 days of Gratitude Will Change Your Life
- The One-Minute Gratitude Journal
- Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal: Questions, Prompts, and Coloring Pages for a Brighter, Happier Life
You can get apps to record Gratitude too but there is something very lovely about giving yourself some offline time to think about this either as you start your day or before you go to sleep.
Annie Clarke talks about how keeping a gratitude journal has helped her.
2. Make a happiness haul
Each month I make a happiness haul over on my YouTube channel. If you want to do something similar without spending a lot of time editing then there is a lovely app called 1 Second Everyday, which allows you to capture a moment of every day and then pops them into a little video for you. It is so easy to use and it is amazing how watching just one second of film from a day can evoke the happy feelings you felt at that point in time.
3. Use social media
There are lots of people using social media to keep track of happy-making moments. For example, Dr Pooky Knightsmith tweets #3GoodThings every day. Social media can so often make us feel as though our lives are lacking in comparison to others. This is a lovely way to take a moment to focus in on your own life and consider what things you have to appreciate. Plus, if you’re like me and spend a lot of time online then it is a great way of receiving a little prompt to stop and take a moment to be grateful.
4. Make a good things jar or gratitude calendar
All you need for this is a glass jar, some pens and paper! Decorate your jar in whatever way you want and then write your happy moments onto a piece of paper at the end of each day and pop them in your jar. You could also note down lovely things people say about you or little quotes that make you reflect on what there is to appreciate. At the end of the year, or when you are feeling blue, you can look back over your good things jar and celebrate all the lovely things.
A variation on this, which I love, is to keep a little box of index cards or postcards. Each day you write one thing you are grateful for on one of the cards alongside the date. Then the next year you add another thing, looking back at the things you were grateful for in previous year(s). Not only does this give you a double, triple or quadruple dose of gratitude for no more effort but it may also act as a reminder of joyful things. There are some brilliant instructions about how to make your own gratitude calendar over on The Humble Foodie blog.
5. Build moments of beauty and joy into your everyday life
One of the things people sometimes recommend is building a prompt into your day to remind you to spend a little time thinking about all the good things in your life. For example, when you drink your morning coffee, you might get into the habit of thinking about the people, moments or things for which you’re thankful. You might get a gratitude pebble, make a little charm with words that you associate with gratitude or there are packs of gratitude cards at the School of Life that you could use as a prompt.
But another way to think about this is to simply build as much joy into your everyday life as possible. As Marie Kondo explains in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, if you surround yourself with things that bring you joy then gratitude will come naturally. Every time you cook with a lovely saucepan or make the bed up with some beautiful sheets or water your plants then you will feel a little bit of gratitude for the beauty in the world. Take these everyday moments and infuse as much loveliness into them as possible. Drink your favourite tea out of a cup with a saucer. Even if you’re having a microwave meal, spend time to put it on a plate. Make what you are doing feel as happy-making as you can. The same applies to the books we read, music we listen to and people we spend time with. Choose to spend time on what brings you joy. As I say, when you do this, gratitude naturally follows.
What other ways do you use to build a practice of gratitude into your everyday life? Let me know in the comments below or head over to Twitter to let me know your #3GoodThings. I would love to hear from you.