How many of us live our lives being grateful for the many blessings we have? How many times a day do we say ‘thank you’?
What would your day look like if you lived your life as if everything was a gift to you? How would you start the day if the first thing you did was to be thankful for the gift of life?
Native American visionary Black Elk spoke of his habit of greeting each morning by stepping outside, letting his bare feet touch the wet grass literally reconnecting with the earth, and singing a prayer of gratitude for the day’s arrival. What an awesome way to start each day. A reminder of the precious gift of life that we have to be thankful for!
Practicing gratitude in our daily lives is not something that comes easy for everyone. There are steps we can take in our daily lives to make gratitude second nature.
Practical Steps to Practicing Gratitude
1. Start a gratitude journal. Depending on which author you read, suggestions range from 5 – 500 things a day. Go with what works best for you. Each day take a moment write out what comes to mind when you think of your life and what you have to be thankful for – from family to fresh air.
2. Remember: Meister Eckhart’s saying, “The most important prayer in the world is just two words: THANK YOU.”
3. Do a gratitude alphabet exercise. In your notebook, write the letters from A – Z. As fast as you can, write down I am grateful for ___________ starting with the letter A and going through the alphabet. For example: I am grateful for apples, I am grateful for bananas, I am grateful for carrots, and so until you finish all the letters.
4. Start your day by being thankful for all the blessings you have.
5. Practice an ‘Act of Kindness’ everyday.
6. Look for ways you can genuinely praise your partner, your child, your colleague, your employees, the person who serves you – such as a waitress, mail carrier, paper delivery person, police officers, etc.
7. Be thankful for the bare necessities we have – food, air, and water.
8. Write a letter expressing gratitude for all you have to be thankful for in your life. Seal it and read it when you need a pick-me-up.
9. Thank your parents for giving you life.
10. Be thankful for all the lessons you have received through your life’s experiences – the good and the not-so-good.