So you want to start practicing gratitude regularly. You heard it helps improve mood and can even benefit your health, according to the Mayo Clinic. You know how to figure out what you're grateful for thanks to an older blog post I wrote on the subject. But how do you turn it into a practice?
Having a gratitude practice means making reflecting on what you're grateful for a habit. Tasks require repetition to become a habit. So whichever method you decide to use for your practice, doing it daily is key. Learn how to make a daily routine in one of our earlier blog posts by Lex.
There are multiple methods folks use to practice gratitude. Here are some ideas to get you started.
A classic, the gratitude journal is a notebook you write what you're grateful in every day. Some people use blank journals, while others opt for guided journals with reflection prompts instead. Try writing down 1-5 things you're grateful for every day, perhaps before bed. Keep the journal somewhere you'll remember to use it each day.
There are now many different phone/tablet apps out there to encourage gratitude practice. They're similar to the journal in nature, but you can add photos from your day or record a voice note to include instead of typing. They can even send notifications at the same time each day to remind you to complete your practice.
This is a creative option that entails keeping a jar out in your household to place strips of paper with what you're grateful for written on them. You can decorate the jar and even use fancy paper if you want. Try dropping something you're grateful for in each day. Then at the end of the month or year you can dump out the jar and review what you were grateful for during that time.
There are other methods than just these. You can create your own! The important thing is to stick to regular practice. Don't feel bad if you repeat things your grateful for- some of them are going to pop up every day. Try to be specific and particular to each day.
And remember, being grateful doesn't mean your life doesn't contain pain or suffering or struggle, like Melissa said in a recent blog post. It doesn't invalidate that. It just trains our brain to automatically search for that light in the darkness.
Now, get practicing!