6 Simple Steps to Fill Your Heart With Gratitude
November is often referred to as the month of giving thanks, but gratitude is something we should feel in our hearts all year long, not just during the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving. I reached out to Stephanie because I knew she would have relatable and straightforward tips we could all use to practice daily gratitude in our lives. xxDV
It is safe to say that a heart filled with gratitude is a happy heart indeed. Along with love, it carries the highest vibration of any emotion we can feel (yes, emotions vibrate). It simply FEELS GOOD! Gratitude fills the heart with warmth and, literally, good vibes. So needless to say, it is something we want to cultivate more of in our everyday lives. Here are six simple ways we can evoke and hold onto the warm, fuzzy feeling of gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Take just a few minutes every evening to write down the things you were grateful for today. The more you practice replaying moments of gratitude from the day, the more you are programming your brain to constantly seek out and remember those moments, basically creating good gratitude habits in your mind.
- Think about your why. Self-proclaimed “happiness researcher,” Shawn Achor says it’s important to include thoughts about why we are grateful for something. This adds an important layer of meaning, which can enrich our feelings of gratitude. For example, if we are grateful for a hug from our child, the why might be, “because I want my child to feel loved and nurtured, and our hugs do that for him/her.” Or maybe we’re grateful for a raise we received at work because “I can better support myself and my family.” Your why is up to you, but it’s essential to have one. Add it to your journal!
- Remember that gratitude is in the little things! Of course, we might be grateful for big things, like our friends and family, our pets, or our home. But there are lots of little things to feel grateful for, too! A warm cup of tea, ten extra minutes of sleep, a beautiful sunset. Don’t forget the little things, because they are sprinkled throughout our day, and taking moments to relish in them can change our entire outlook for the better.
- Incorporate gratitude into your meditation practice. If you have a meditation practice, try adding a few minutes to contemplate the things you are grateful for. It sets a wonderful tone for meditating, and this quiet time is perfect for reflecting. Once you feel gratitude arising in your heart, take a couple of minutes to hold onto the feeling, and enjoy it.
- Express your gratitude to others. One way to double the power of gratitude is to express it to others. Try sending a text, email or an old-fashioned thank-you card to let someone know when you’re grateful for them or something they’ve done. It feels good to share our feelings of gratitude, and it lifts up those that we are thanking. A note of thanks, even for small things, can turn a brief act of kindness into an all-around joy fest.
- Transform tough situations with gratitude. Stuck in traffic? Instead of feeling frustrated, take a moment to think about how many people it took working hard to pave the roads you drive on every day so you can get where you need to be. What about if you’re waiting in a long line at the grocery store? Think about how lucky you feel to have food to eat at all (many people don’t). Gratitude. Having a difficult day with your kids? Remember that they are strengthening your patience, and patience is essential to a happy life. Gratitude.
See? If we look for gratitude in tough or mundane situations, we can transform them so that they become little gifts to our heart.
Stephanie Gatschet has been immersed in the wellness world for several years, working for various integrative and functional medicine doctors, practicing and teaching meditation, and developing a passion for holistic nutrition. She studied holistic health at the Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, CA, and is currently completing a Masters of Science in Integrative Nutrition through the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She lives in San Diego with her partner and their daughter, Vela. Visit her site to learn more.