Every day is a routine. I wake up, meditate, brush my teeth, wash my face, change out of 5 different outfits before I finally decide on the first one I had on. It’s like this everyday! I head to the kitchen, kiss the boys and realize I forgot to make my lunch the night before. Why do I always do this, I say to myself. I look over to the digital clock on the stove and the blue numbers are telling me it’s 8am and I’m late again. As I’m scrambling to get out the door, I see an overripe banana – and for a split second debate whether I should save it for banana bread or eat it – and I decide it’s going to be my breakfast, then go into my pantry scanning the shelves looking for something healthy. Alas I only have uncooked rice, wine and chocolate. Probably not a good choice — this early in the morning. I say to the boys as I always do, “Love you!” I give them one last kiss, run for the door, slip on my cute leopard print crocs and out to the car I go with my oversized purse that I fight to get onto the passenger seat because I decide to put my entire life in there. As I start to drive, I am consciously aware that the radio is on and the volume is off. I never turn on the radio in the morning when I drive. More and more, I find myself finding ways to slow down my thoughts, be mindful, be grateful for the simplest of things like the white wispy clouds, the bright powerful sun, the rain that feeds my garden, the leaves on the trees. Then suddenly this feeling of hurried madness disappears and I’m my happy self because I choose to be. And this is my life.
One of the most effective positive practices you can do to feel happy is to BE GRATEFUL, not just on the holidays but every single day. Wake up thanking the universe or God for breath and another day to make someone else’s life better. Every morning and every night, before I even check my phone, I pull out my journal and write down at least 3 things I am grateful for and why. It literally takes me 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes in the evening. There is no excuse why I can’t take two minutes for myself to express how blessed I am. I start my day and end my day with positivity. Not only do I feel better, I sleep better. Research shows that by keeping something as simple as a gratitude journal and writing reflections on moments of thankfulness can increase your overall wellness and life satisfaction. People are healthier so get sick less, more optimistic, more forgiving and compassionate, and more alive, alert and awake. Gratitude spreads like a virus to every aspect of your life. The social benefits especially because it strengthens our relationships with people and celebrate just being in the present moment.
Different Ways to Practice Gratitude
For some, writing in a journal can be a little mundane. There’s no official rule to how you want to practice gratitude. The key is to do it every day, and every time you are grateful, to acknowledge it.
Some people like to create a gratitude jar. You can write down what you are grateful for and put it in the jar. Then at the end of the month, you open the jar up and read everything you wrote. It immediately makes that moment burst with happiness, reading every blessing you have noticed and acknowledged and makes us aware of other reasons to be thankful.
Another way is to write a gratitude letter to someone who has made a difference in your life and send it to them. Not only does it lift you up, but creates like a ripple effect, that will also lift that person up as well. That person will be so thrilled and honored that their spirit and elevated mood will then expand into their life and the people around them and the people around them. Next thing you know, you have started a chain of gratitude that spread far beyond just that one single person. So your single action can make an enormous impact!
Practicing gratitude and incorporating into your life doesn’t have to cost you anything but 2 minutes of your day, and we all have 2 minutes. So next time, when your alarm goes off, instead of reaching for your cell phone, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and proclaim your gratefulness for any 3 things. You will see that you have endless reasons to be thankful for your wonderful life.