Over the past five years I’ve practiced keeping a gratitude list with a method I learned from reading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
Staying consistent for five years has been easy because of the simplicity of the method and the joy it brings to look back at my list.
On hard days, when motherhood seems like too much to handle, I can grab my journal, hide in the closet, and remember why I love my life so much.
Why practice gratitude?
One of the prominent researchers of gratitude, Robert Emmons, found that a gratitude practice leads to benefits in the psychological, social, and spiritual areas of our lives. (source)
- Gratitude increases contentment.
Almost immediately upon writing down a few items of gratitude, I find myself smiling. Did my situation or circumstance change? Not at all, but my perspective did.
If I’m stuck in a negative attitude and refuse to find anything to be grateful for, reading past items on my list helps increase contentment as well.
- Gratitude focuses on the present moment.
“Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” -Charles Dickens
Living in the present moment is ideal. Instead of rehashing the past or worrying about the future, take time each day to stay present.
- Gratitude decreases a materialistic mindset.
Materialism is deeply ingrained in our society and we continually search for the next best thing. It has planted a seed of discontent into all of us. Unless we are fighting against it, it’s our natural state. (source)
- Gratitude strengthens friendships.
Focusing on the other person in a friendship instead of yourself allows a friendship to grow strong and healthy. By focusing on the good things in a friendship, you remember how much you are loved and cared for. (source)
Here are 7 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude Daily
1. Gratitude list.
This is the one I have experience in. I have kept a gratitude list going for five years now and the journal is a treasure. Many small and ordinary moments are captured in this journal, things I would not have remembered otherwise.
2. Express gratitude to another person.
This can happen in person, by text, or even by notecard. I love sending notes to people through the mail because it’s unexpected.
3. Gratitude jar.
I like this idea to start a gratitude practice with kids. At dinner each night have everyone write down what they are grateful for and place it in the jar.
4. Gratitude board.
This could be online or on your wall. Start to collect images of what you are grateful for and keep them in one place. Collecting images on Pinterest and Instagram is an easy way to start.
5. Gratitude prompts.
Some days it’s difficult to feel thankful. Other times you just want to know you’re not the only one keeping track. If you would like to follow prompts, join me on Instagram and use #simplyrootedgratitude to play along.
6. Count 3 things a day.
Practice presence around the dinner table, in the car, at bedtime, or in grumpy moments. Go around and each person has to say 3 things they’re grateful for from the day.
7. Gratitude art journal.
This one is more involved than the others, but if creativity is something you love, this might be the one that draws you in.
Each gratitude practice above is based on doing something small and doing it consistently.
Are you too busy to start adding gratitude to your day? This free booklet tells you 7 straightforward steps to breaking out of busy mode.