You have probably heard it said many times that ‘gratitude is an action word,’ but what does that mean exactly? It means that if you are truly thankful for something or someone, you won’t have to say it for others to know it, because your actions will speak for you. It means that your actions are the evidence of your gratitude.
If you are grateful to be alive, the gratitude will show in how you choose to live your life. If you are grateful for your significant other, they will know it by the way you treat them. If you are grateful for your job, it should be easy to tell by the work you produce.
Of course like most things, gratitude seems to come much easier when everything is going well. It is when life presents you with difficult times that it can become somewhat of a struggle to remain grateful.
When everything begins to come crashing down around you, gratitude is probably one of the last things to enter your mind. It is very easy to get so caught up with the negative things in your life that you can forget about all of the things you have to be grateful for. But you will invariably find that it is much easier to get grateful and stay grateful if you maintain a few simple practices on a regular basis, especially during times of crisis.
Here are five simple ways to practice living a life of gratitude:
1. Think positive thoughts
When negative thoughts bombard your mind, slow down your thinking and replace them with positive thoughts. This can be a bit more difficult when we are out in the world and around other people who may not have the healthiest mindsets. Just remind yourself that we are all human and we are just doing the best we can with what we have. Keep it positive!
2. Help someone
One of the best ways to find gratitude is by stepping outside of yourself and helping others. Whether it’s holding the door for someone, doing volunteer work or donating to your favorite cause; helping other people is a great way to put things into perspective. Charitable acts will give you time to focus on others and help you to forget whatever it was that may have been worrying you. Remember that all of the positive energy you put out will always come back to you in awesome and unexpected ways. The universe provides greatly for those who provide for others. The more you give, the more you have to give. Pay it forward!
3. Do something creative
When it seems like nothing is going your way, take a step back and go to your ‘happy place’. Do whatever creative thing it is that helps you forget about the troubles of life. Draw a picture, listen to music, dance, sing, read a book, write a book. You know what it is that gives you that extra spark. Do what makes you come back to life and remember to focus on being grateful for the abilty to have that special gift. Create something to be grateful for!
4. Get active
Don’t just sit around feeling sorry for yourself and coming up with new things to be angry or sad about. Get up, get out and do something. Climb a mountain, run a marathon, swim the Atlantic, or just go do the dishes or mow the lawn. The point is, that when we move our bodies to a different location, it also seems to transition our minds to different level of thinking. So if you don’t like where you’re at in the present moment, move around and move forward. Keep it moving!
5. Make a gratitude list
If you’re struggling to find things to be grateful for just take a moment to jot some things down. Start with the simple things like: air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and a bed to lie down in at night. You will hit your stride and new ideas will come to you as you write. You can even post a daily list onto your social media accounts and gain some support from your peers. This exercise is something that can really help you to keep gratitide at the forefront of your mind. Write it down!
When you express your gratitude for all that you have, life has a beautiful way of giving you more to be grateful for. None of this is an exact science and there is always room for improvement. But as long as you stay mindful of where you are at in each moment it is easier to remain grateful. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you slip up and fall into a funk. Remember that there is really no such thing as a bad day, there are only moments in time. Each new moment is a new opportunity and each new opportunity is truly something to be grateful for.
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