My gratitude practice began with a rock. Yep, really!
When I was thirteen years old my Dad gave me a ‘gratitude rock’. I would put this rock in my school uniform pocket everyday and use it to remind me to think of something I was grateful for. Every time I touched the rock it would remind me to think of something I was grateful for; this was the beginning of my first ever gratitude practice.
Ever since, I’ve been practicing gratitude (with varying levels of devotion) and am in awe of how powerful it can be. Practicing gratitude truly has — and continues to — make my life exponentially better, in so many different ways. If you want to make your gratitude practice even more powerful, here are six suggestions for you:
1. Write it out
I find taking the time to actually write out what I’m grateful for helps me to really feel the gratitude and seems to be a lot more powerful than simply just thinking about it. This practise makes you take the time to reflect on what you appreciate and dedicate a moment to feeling that appreciation. You might like to write down what you’re grateful for in a notebook, a diary or even on random notes of paper to put in a gratitude jar.
2. Focus on why you’re grateful
When you get into the habit of writing down what you’re grateful for all the time, it can begin to feel less powerful; I found that because I was listing the same things each day, it became a bit repetitive. Shawn Achor suggests that getting specific with what you’re grateful for can help you to cultivate a greater sense of appreciation, so instead of listing as many things as you possibly can, you might like to consider picking three things and exploring exactly why you’re grateful for these.
3. Set reminders
If you want to have a powerful gratitude practice, you need to actually remember to be grateful. I highly recommend helping yourself by incorporating reminders into your daily life, such as:
- Using an object as a reminder
- Setting a reminder on your phone
Sticking a post it note somewhere you will see it regularly throughout the day
4. Use both good and bad experiences as an opportunity to be grateful
It’s easy to be grateful for all the amazing things going on in your life, but the truth is life isn’t amazing 100% of the time! We all have bad days and bad experiences. One way to make your gratitude practice more powerful is to explore how you can be grateful for things that seem not-so-awesome. You might like to consider:
- What have you learnt from the experience?
- How can you see this experience differently?
- In a year (or 2 years, or 5 years, or 10 years) what will you take away from this experience? What will you appreciate about it?
- If this experience is something you don’t want more of, what has it taught you about what you DO want more of?
5. Share and declare!
Speaking out loud about what you’re grateful for is a powerful way to express your gratitude. Not only does this help you to enhance your own practice, but it can help to influence those around you in a really positive way. You might like to do this by:
- Telling someone what you’re grateful for
- Sharing what you’re grateful for on social media
Creating a mealtime ritual where each person shares what they’re grateful for that day
6. Give thanks
Being thankful is expressing your gratitude to someone else. You can make your gratitude practice more powerful by giving thanks to others. You might like to do this by:
- Telling someone personally why you’re grateful to have him or her in your life
- Sending someone a text message or email to thank them for something
- Sending someone a handwritten thank you card
- Publically thanking someone on social media
I do hope these tips can help you to make your current gratitude practice even more powerful; it can be truly life changing.
Chloe Wigan is an award-nominated Certified Life Coach and writer, with a background in psychology. Her mission (the quick version) is to support you to get the absolute most out of your one infinite life. After practicing gratitude for over a decade, Chloe now guides people in experimenting with this practice through her award-nominated experiment The 28 Day Gratitude Project.