I’ve read a lot of books on happiness and positive psychology over the past couple of years. I love to nerd out on learning how the brain works and how it’s wired. It’s something that interests me, though I never formally studied it. One thing that has come up over and over again is the concept of practicing gratitude. It’s really helped my home feel happier and I thought it could help yours too.
Gratitude is not only being grateful for things, but actively looking for things each day to feel grateful for and to take it one step further: finding a way to express it. It can be tricky to get your head around at first, but like anything we want to make a habit, it requires practice. Luckily for us, it’s not too hard to do.
You don’t need any fancy equipment or even a pretty notebook (though I do find them an accessory worth having), just a couple of minutes either at the beginning or the end of the day to reflect on what you’re feeling grateful for. Some days it will be harder than others, but I’ve found that since practicing it, I do feel more lighthearted than the days where I skip it.
It can feel a little woo-woo, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about doing it in a way that works for you.
Here are some ways to include gratitude in your day:
- Keep a journal with the things you’re grateful for each day. I could be 1 thing per day or 3 to get you started
- Thank someone for what they do for you (could be a family member or colleague or your child’s teacher)
- Join in with a gratitude challenge like this one from Brightside Coaching
- Make a point of noticing something good when you’re having a tough day (it could be small, like a good coffee, or fresh sheets on your bed)
- Keep a list in your phone that you can look at when you feel like you’re struggling. Sometimes having a list of things can help you focus on the good
One other important thing that needs to go with gratitude, I think, is letting go of any guilt you might feel. Sometimes it all feels messy and imperfect and like we’re doing it all wrong. But gratitude gives us a moment to let go of that guilt and to just focus on what we’re thankful for. It’s a little break that we create, even just for a moment to say “hey, I’m grateful for the people who love me, blue skies and soup on a winter’s night”. Everything else might not be going to plan, but you’ve got 3 things that you know to be true.
Do you practice gratitude? Do you find it works for you?
Note: The Embracing Imperfection series is a fortnightly blog post series, every second Thursday, where I talk about creating a great, happy home for you and for me. One where we not only talk about embracing imperfection, but where we make steps to do it. Read more about it here.