We all have habits and behaviors we are comfortable (and not so comfortable) with. However, these traits could be a hindrance to our happiness.
As a mother, wife and self-employed business woman, my days can be consumed with chaos! From raising my son, working with my clients and keeping my house in order—there tends to be a lot on my plate each day. This makes it very easy to become worn down in my spirit and physically exhausted…and that can affect my ability to be present and peaceful.
If the mind begins to fill with discontent, we can lose sight of the many things we have to be grateful for.
Being grateful vs. being thankful comes down to one simple word: action.
According to its definition, when you are thankful, it’s an internal reaction to external circumstances. Such as being thankful to be done with work. Or to be thankful for receiving a gift.
Gratitude, however, is using external circumstances to nurture yourself internally. If I’m overwhelmed with work and I begin to feel irritable with those around me, I can choose between two options. I can continue taking my frustration out on others, or I can take a calming breath and remind myself how great it is that I have a source of income.
This may seem minor, but when we are caught up with working, caring for our families, seeing awful news on social media or the news…we become jaded to how truly blessed we are and how grateful we could be.
Your attitude can change everything.
Gratitude changes you from the inside out. It helps you to reflect on yourself and your actions. In turn, we take better care of ourselves and our loved ones.
For example, I was becoming annoyed with my husband for all the things I felt he wasn’t doing in our relationship and home. This perspective led me to inadvertently overlook all that he was doing. I would be simmering, but because I would not share my exasperation, it caused a riff between us.
Later I realized I wasn’t handling the issue correctly. I decided to shift my focus onto appreciating and complimenting him for who he is, and what he provides to our marriage and home. This helped clear the air so we could better use our time together.
After I showed my gratitude for him, he began to do even more than I expected…without me pushing. All because I chose to reflect on myself, to be grateful for my husband, and to change the energy.
We have much to be grateful for—sometimes we just need a reminder. If you take a few minutes each day to practice one or all of these tips, you can change your mindset to improve your life.
8 Steps to Being Grateful
1) Learn to appreciate what you have.
Where would we be without our sound minds or our good health? There are material things to be grateful for, as well. Our homes, our food, clean, running water, and our sources of income. Remembering the value of things we take for granted (big, small and everything in between) is a natural booster of the spirit.
2) Renew your mind daily.
Sometimes, you have to encourage yourself. If you find yourself in a negative space about your circumstances, remember to take time to renew your mind. When you wake up, have a break or before you go to bed, listen to an inspiring video or podcast. Practice writing down your gratitude in a diary until you believe it, and it’s visible through your actions and attitude.
3) Look for the lesson in every challenge.
It’s easy to let frustrations get the best of you. But remember, each situation that threatens to ruin your day can be a learning opportunity. Whether it be from your job, your school, or your personal hardships, you can come away stronger if you allow the situation to teach you about yourself.
4) Share your gratitude by speaking.
Gratitude is all about changing from the inside out. As you pour love into yourself, try to do so for others. Tell people you’re grateful for them. Provide small acts of kindness. Reach out to someone going through a tough time.
5) Smile. It is contagious!
Spread your joy and happiness with others. When you share your smile with others, your light comes out. Don’t allow every challenge to break your spirit. Smile in the face of your worries because there is so much more to be grateful for. It may remind others to do the same!
6) Filter what steals your peace.
It’s important to know what’s happening in the world, but don’t forget to look for the good news. Read posts and watch videos that are positive and add value to your mood and overall day. If you’re seeing more and more bad news on your social media timelines, hide or block them. On the flip side, don’t be a news broadcaster! Research the facts and set aside time to view important information.
7) Ask yourself these three questions.
During your prayer or meditation, try to answer these three questions about yourself and any stressful situations you’re facing. This method of self-reflection comes from the Japanese therapy, Naikan.
- “What have I received from this?”
- “What have I given to this?”
- “What troubles and difficulties have I caused?”
8) Start a gratitude journal.
It may be difficult to find time to keep a journal, but with my 30 Days of Gratitude Workbook, we can work together to make every day count and grow our appreciation for life. With 30 prompts for each day, we will challenge ourselves to reflect and act upon gratitude building exercises. Consistency is key!
Maintaining a positive attitude takes practice and persistence. When something bad happens, it’s easy to revert to old, negative patterns and toxic, internal language. We can’t reach our fullest potential if we remain the same. You deserve to be happy and to share it with others.
If you are ready to revamp your life, download my 30 Days of Gratitude Workbook below. Whether you take two minutes or ten minutes from your day to practice, you will see a change in yourself. And it will change your life for the better.Grab my free workbook here!