This is part 3 of a 3 part series on gratitude and how you too can be creating an even more happy and fulfilling life if you begin cultivating gratitude daily.
- Part 1: Daily Gratitude and Why Stack Gratitude
- Part 2: How Daily Gratitude Practice Works So Well
- Part 3: [You are here] Seven Simple Ways To Experience More Gratitude
- Bonus Part: Once you've finished reading this part, you'll see the link to access the bonus at the bottom.
Gratitude is the kind of emotion you feel in your heart or feel comes from your heart. the heart is just another muscle in your body and a really amazing muscle I might add!
Like I said before, gratitude is muscle you have to exercise, build up and strengthen. It's not different from any other muscle in your body.
“What you don't use, you lose.”
To experience the benefits, you need to work it.
I'm going to share several ways you can work it. I'm giving you options here. But keep this in mind.
All the options and knowledge in the world is useless if not used.
So right after you read this, what's most important is that you pick just 1 or 2 ways you're going to build your muscle of gratitude, commit to using it and then use it every day or even several times per day.
Ways To Cultivate Gratitude
1. Keep a daily gratitude journal.
You can simply list down every thing, no matter how big or tiny, you can remember about each day. I regularly and consistently do this every night. It's the last thing I do to end each day.
It is so rewarding! Why?
Because no matter how crappy and messed up my day felt, the daily gratitude journal at the end of each day gives me the opportunity and space to review the events of each day from the perspective of “What can I be grateful about today?”
And I'll be honest, sometimes when my day hasn't felt that great, the first moment I ask that question, my brain screams back, “Nothing was great about today!!”. 🙂
We all have days like that. That's why in the earlier parts of the gratitude series I said, “The practice of gratitude does not remove any of those hardships“.
But by sticking to the practice and repeating, “If there was one thing I am grateful for today, what would it be?”, my brain slowly begins to unfold and release the tension it's holding onto. It begins to get less stubborn and eases up.
Finally my brain gives me one thing I am grateful for, one thing I can celebrate or one thing to appreciate.
From that point on, thoughts of gratitude start rolling down the hill increasing in quantity and size.
And I'm serious when I say that this has worked for me even on the bleakest and most difficult days.
As a result of that process, more often than not I find myself smiling, even if just a little bit, and lay down in bed feeling grateful instead of stressed or upset or whatever else.
My sleep tends to be better obviously.
So go do it yourself, begin keeping a daily gratitude journal!
I usually don't stop my gratitude list until I have more than 10 items written down. Stretch yourself to find even the smallest things that you would usually take for granted.
If you'd like an example of how I do it you can look here: My Daily Success and Gratitude Journal.
You'll see that I use a slightly more evolved format that consists of other questions to that increase not just my sense of gratitude each day, but also my sense of accomplishment and success. All the questions in my daily journal are scripted very specifically to help my brain extract the best.
2. Watch your language and use language that serves or empowers you.
In the first point you already saw how I used those specific questions like “what can I be grateful for today?” and then “If there was one thing I am grateful for today, what would it be?”.
You also may have already seen from my real life examples of my daily journals of how I use language very specifically to assist my brain to focus on what is more empowering and therefore feels good.
The use of language is often underestimated but language is very powerful.
You hear people all the time, answering “I'm ok”, “Not too bad”, or even “Same shit different day”, when they're asked how they are. Those people have no clue of what they're actually doing to themselves by repeating language like that over and over again.
The power of language and meaning cannot be overemphasized.
Learn to use the language that you want to be feeling.
Train yourself to ask better quality questions.
If you want your brain to give you better quality answers which will make you feel better then you better start asking better quality questions. That's logical isn't it?
What was great about today? If there was one thing that was great, what would it be?
What can I celebrate today? If there was one thing I can celebrate today, what would it be?
What I be grateful for today? If there was one thing I can be grateful of today, what would it be?
What's something I did or someone else did today with me that resulted in something good?
What did I see or hear today that made me realize how much I have compared to others?
What's one small thing that happened or that I did today that allowed me to make feel like I've progressed?
Those are some questions that will help you get better and better at finding more things to be grateful for every day.
3. Use visual reminders.
You can stick or pin notes or signs anywhere you can to remind you to be grateful. They will also remind you to be more aware and present during even the most ordinary moments, so that you can notice more you can feel gratitude for.
I personally have even stuck a small note on my steering wheel with the word “GRATITUDE”.
And I also have a small funny looking troll that hangs on my car rear view mirror. It acts a a visual cue to remind me to smile, breathe and be grateful.
4. Have a regular “gratitude sharing session” with a partner.
Whether or not you live with someone, you can always (if you choose to) find someone else who wants to experience the benefits of cultivating gratitude.
The two of you can set a certain time of day or night perhaps when you share with each other whatever you are grateful for.
The two of you act as a form of accountability partner too, ensuring that the day is not complete until the gratitude sharing session is done.
5. Have and use gratitude incantations.
What are incantations? I like to think of incantations as affirmations on steroids.
Affirmations are great but personally I don't think are anywhere near as powerful or effective as incantations.
With an incantation, you take any affirmation statement and repeat out loud preferably with energy and emotion. While you're repeating your incantations you can also allow your mind to float to the images that are linked to that which you are incanting.
I've used incantations like, “I feel more and more grateful with each passing moment of every day”, and even just a simple “Thank you, thank you God” done over and over again while visualizing all the people, things and experiences I've had that I'm grateful for. It's kind of like a “Gratitude Flood” (at least that's what I call it).
6. Write at least one thank you note (or any technological equivalent) to someone.
By giving the gift of gratitude to someone else and by letting them know that you are grateful for them, you give the gift to yourself.
It's impossible to do that and not feel great about it, especially when you see the person light up.
Of course, handing it to the person personally, face to face, will create more impact and consequentially you will feel more gratitude yourself.
Or you could write a gratitude note for your partner for example and hide it somewhere in the house for him/her to find.
7. Meditate on gratitude at least 10 mins every day.
Really easy. Just sit comfortably. Close your eyes. And think of one word, “GRATITUDE”.
Allow your mind to bring up images of people, places, things, or events that you are grateful for.
If your mind wanders off too far and starts to get side-tracked away from anything gratitude related (which it will), gently bring it back to the word “GRATITUDE”.
You can set a timer for 10 mins and just keep gently bringing your mind back to gratitude, allowing it to only visualize what you are grateful for.
Those are 7 simple ways for you to cultivate gratitude in yourself.
What about more ideas of showing gratitude?
Showing Gratitude and Appreciation To Others
As mentioned earlier, by sharing the gift of gratitude with someone else, by saying thank you and showing appreciation, they will feel their sense of self-worth increase but so will you.
You can get creative with this obviously but here are 7 simple ideas for you:
- Send flowers to your parents.
- Handwrite thank-you cards and send them to the five people closest to you.
- Give a server a big tip.
- Clean the house for a roommate or significant other.
- Bring in sweet homemade treats for co-workers.
- Reach out to someone who has had a big influence on your life and thank him/her.
- Cook a nice meal for your best friend.
Summary of The Gratitude Series
I hope this gratitude series has been immensely valuable for you and that you will take at least one of these suggestions to cultivate more gratitude in your own life.
If you haven't read the whole 3 part series yet and have only begun here, you may read part 1 called “Daily Gratitude and Why Stack Gratitude” and part 2 called “How Daily Gratitude Practice Works So Well“.
In this 3 part gratitude series we've covered the science behind how gratitude works, the benefits of practicing gratitude daily, the two components that actually makes the practice of gratitude really uplifting and empowering and also the 7 simple ways you begin right now, cultivating more gratitude in your own life.
Remember, knowledge alone is not enough. In fact, knowledge not applied is useless.
So go take at least one valuable distinction you've gotten from this series and apply it every day of your life. Make it practical and actionable.
As a bonus, I also decided to include a few really amazing videos you can watch that will wake you up and get you feeling grateful right now! Check out the bonus post here: Gratitude Series Bonus. Enjoy and be grateful….