Weird Gratitude Practices That Will Change Your Life
How grateful are you feeling today? Take this brief quiz:
1. Whenever I feel something is missing in my life, I remind myself to be grateful for what I have.
__ Always (it makes me feel better!)
__ Sometimes (but life would be so much nicer if I had this…)
__ Rarely/never (I will be happy when I have it)
2. I pause and appreciate the lessons and benefits of adversity.
__ Always (it puts things into perspective!)
__ Sometimes (IF I can make myself stop worrying!)
__ Rarely/never (I don’t have time for that right now!)
3. I take the time to appreciate the basic things most people take for granted.
__ Always (I don’t take anything for granted)
__ Sometimes (I worked hard for this stuff but I’m usually focused on the bigger things)
__ Rarely/never (I’m overwhelmed, I have problems and that’s what I’m thinking about)
4. I express gratitude for my body.
__ Always (no matter the state it’s in at the moment, my body is a miracle!)
__ Sometimes (I don’t always make the best choices but I try)
__ Rarely/never (there’s only so much I can do to overcome genetics)
5. When something goes wrong at work, I own my actions and I’m grateful for the lesson.
__ Always (it stings, but I’m committed to improving my performance next time)
__ Sometimes (it’s not always my fault - sometimes I just react to circumstances!)
__ Rarely/never (hey if nobody noticed it was my fault, why would I bring that up?)
6. I show appreciation for my loved ones.
__ Always (you just never know if this is the last time you see each other!)
__ Sometimes (when they’re not annoying me)
__ Rarely/never (it just isn’t done in my family)
7. In adversity, I remind myself that I’m stronger because I’ve gone through hard times before.
__ Always (I know I’ll figure it out and I trust that things will work themselves out somehow)
__ Sometimes (it’s starting to wear me down, though!)
__ Rarely/never (I can’t take it anymore. Why do things always happen to me?)
8. When I narrowly escape getting into a car accident, I feel grateful!
__ Always (thank you for my quick reflexes and thank you someone for inventing brakes!)
__ Sometimes (after my heart stops racing, maybe!)
__ Rarely/never (did you SEE that idiot? He almost killed me!)
9. I appreciate the degree of success I have right now.
__ Always (I’m not quite ‘there’ but look how far I’ve come already!)
__ Sometimes (nice, but not quite)
__ Rarely/never (are you kidding me? This is ‘success’?)
10. I am content with my life, even as I work toward improving it.
__ Always (I love my life! The hard times make the good times so much sweeter)
__ Sometimes (yeah, except that I know I’ll be happier if things were as I want them to be)
__ Rarely/never (I’ll be grateful when I have the job/ relationship/ car/ home/ body I want!)
This is a self-scored quiz.
If you answered “always” all or most of the time, you’re a grateful person and because of that, researchers say, you are a generally happy person.
If you answered mostly “sometimes” then a daily gratitude practice will help shift you away from being problem-focused to being focused on how that problem can ultimately help you.
If you answered mostly “rarely/never” then I imagine you’re going through hard times and maybe you feel like you can’t get out of them. Read on about the importance of gratitude!
The reality, most of us feel very grateful sometimes and other times, we simply forget or we’re too caught up in our own misery to even think about gratitude. It’s easy to give more mental and emotional energy to what’s wrong/missing/unwanted than on what’s wonderful/present/wanted.
Think of gratitude as a lens. We see (and as a result, experience) the world differently through this lens!
Gratitude does not turn the world into puppies and rainbows. Stuff still happens. We can still get fired, rejected or ignored. We can still have health scares, we may be attacked, our businesses can fail, pets die, the roof can collapse and even the little things can pile up to the point we feel like we’re wearing a “kick me” sign.
But, gratitude reminds us that most of our problems only exist in our imagination because we focus on what could go wrong instead of what could go right. Gratitude teaches us that we can survive, and thrive. And, gratitude reminds us that experiences and feelings are all temporary. This, too, shall pass.
Here are some weird gratitude tricks that can change your life
1. When you wake up, FIRST THING, give thanks. Don't move a muscle 'til you've done this! Yay! Another day of possibility! A day of LIFE! Prime yourself to have a thank-FULL day by watching your favorite MindPT session. I love to do this… still in bed, before I hop on the thought train… I prime myself for seeing the world through loving and appreciative eyes.
2. Once in a while, think about loss, not from a “why me” perspective but from a “what if this never came into my life?” What if you never loved that person who broke your heart? What if you never landed that most awesome job even if the company went belly up? What if you never experienced a taste of chocolate? What if you never enjoyed the company of the world’s greatest dog whose fur still graces your sofa cushions months after his passing? What if you never saw the Grand Canyon at sunrise? This exercise is meant to make you feel grateful that it happened, not that it ended. As wise old Will Shakespeare once said, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
3. Put down the phone. Interact with the people you’re with. Experience the life that’s here, now. Have you missed out on the here and now because you’re in faraway Facebook land? Did you miss the joke or the animal antic because something on the screen was more compelling? How amazing, these beautiful, scary and ridiculous moments that make up a lifetime! How wonderful, that your friend said exactly the right thing at the right time and you were listening! Your life is so much richer because of these moments - but, only if you’re actually in them. Take the time to be here and savor!
4. Don’t get too comfortable. Humans are astonishingly adaptable. We can thrive in the Arctic, jungles, deserts, mountains, cities, suburbs or steppes. But when we adapt, the subjective value of the good things can drop and we start to take them for granted. Pause for a moment to appreciate where you live and the special things about it. If you have clean water to drink, don’t take it for granted. Appreciate it. Adversity, uncomfortable as it is, makes us feel more alive because we’re forced to think and do different things to get better results, which builds appreciation for our own ingenuity, resourcefulness and resilience!
5. Stop counting your blessings. Chances are you could list more grievances than blessings. Instead, see ALL of life as a gift; a gift that is sometimes indescribably sweet and peaceful and other times, overwhelming, terrifying, difficult, painful, and sad. The point is, all of life is a gift to experience. If you could not experience the “bad,” what meaning would “good” have? These contrasts are essential, just as a photograph must have light and shadow in order to form an image.
6. Express WHY you’re grateful for someone. Go ahead, tell them! Acknowledge and appreciate people’s efforts, affection, loyalty, strength, listening skills, wisdom, or their cute sweater… tell your barista that they make your latte exactly the way you like it. Tell your grocery checkout clerk that you appreciate their knowledge of obscure vegetable produce codes. Being specific can make someone’s day!
7. Practice being grateful for the hard stuff. You got fired. Dumped. Had a heart attack. Your kid scored a jail sentence for dealing drugs. You lost half your retirement portfolio to a bad investment. It’s easy to be grateful for the good things and I’m not suggesting you manufacture gratitude. However… gratitude is actually a cognitive process. If we’re willing to dig deeper than usual, we can find reason to be grateful. What self-awareness does a situation bring? What sense of personal responsibility can develop from this? When you process life’s negative aspects through a grateful lens, you have a unique opportunity to transform a painful situation into a treasured lesson (“I won’t EVER do that again!!”). A grateful attitude helps you get through the hard times. It can turn demoralization into hope and energy and get you back on track. Gratitude may not come easily in a crisis but it provides a perspective that prevents overwhelm from temporary circumstances - and gratitude nearly always accompanies 20/20 hindsight.
Research shows that grateful people are happy people. Every MindPT session is infused with gratitude, and I encourage you to ADD statements that make you more appreciative of the people, situations and things in your life. Every day, for a few minutes, take the time to give thanks for life, and watch your life blossom in unexpected and delightful ways!
Gratitude is one of those simple practices that can change your life. But, it has to become a habit to be grateful, especially when things are not going well. Creating a habit of gratitude is as easy as watching MindPT every day.
The easiest and most economical way to grow your MindPT library is the monthly subscription - for just $9.95/month or $97/year, you can choose from two sessions every month! Click here to sign up!