When is the last time that you:
"stopped to smell the roses" and took time to reflect on the things you are thankful for?
whispered "good job" to yourself when something good happened during your day?
told yourself or someone else "thank you"?
thanked God for all of the things you have in your life?
focused on the good things instead of the stressful and negative things?
told someone else "I appreciate you"?
If you answered "all the time", good job! That means you practice gratitude on a consistent basis and your attitude should be mostly positive in nature.
If you had to scratch your head and think hard on it, then that means you may need a little refresher on how to practice gratitude a little more frequently in your daily routine to truly cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
So what's the big deal about showing gratitude? Gratitude has been shown to improve physical health, psychological health and even enhance self-esteem. Practicing gratitude on a regular basis has been found to increase mental strength, mental wellness and it helps to kick start positive and healthy changes in our lives by increasing our motivation and willingness to change.
So what are some things you can do to create a more consistent attitude of gratitude?
For starters, you can complete a 5-Days of Gratitude challenge. It's a simple challenge that you can incorporate into your daily routine whenever you are ready. Just be sure to work on the challenge for 5 consecutive days. By doing so will help you to begin forming a habit of practicing gratitude. Or like the title of the post says, "help you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude".
5 Day Gratitude Challenge
Before starting the actual challenge, grab yourself a jar (can be a large mason jar) or a tupperware bowl. Create a colorful label with the words "Gratitude Jar" and label your jar or container. At the end of each day during the 5-day challenge, write one thing that was good about the day on a piece of paper and place it inside your "Gratitude Jar". Now on to the actual challenge.
Day 1 - I Appreciate You
Take some time and think about someone or some people who have had a major impact in your life. Or it could simply be individuals that you appreciate. Once you have identified those people, send them a text, email, dm or even write them a letter, letting them know why you appreciate them.
Day 2 - Give thanks
Recognize the actions of others, whether big or small and tell them "thank you". If a person holds the door open for you, let's you skip in line at Starbucks or even if your teenager moves fast in the morning so that you all can leave the house on time - say "thank you".
Day 3 - Do Something Nice
Day 3 is the reverse of day 2. This time you will be the one on the giving end of "niceness" instead of being on the receiving end. Doing something nice or giving back to others helps to boost our sense of gratitude and increases positive feelings/emotions. Studies have shown that volunteering and helping others gives us a sense of meaning and purpose.
So on day 3, take some time out of your day to do something nice for someone else. Hold a door open, let someone get in front of you in line at lunch or the store, and maybe pay for someone else's cup of coffee. Regardless of how big or small of a gesture, doing one kind act not only makes you feel good but it allows you to practice gratitude as well.
Day 4 - Let's Take a Walk
Take some time to step outside and take yourself on a nice Gratitude Walk (weather permitting of course). If you are not able to go outside, take a walk around your home, office, the mall, favorite store, etc. and reflect on all the things you are grateful for. Put some headphones on and jam some of your favorite songs while you are walking and reflecting. Consider this activity as being 'walking meditation'.
Day 5 - What a Week, Let's Reflect
Day 5 is a day to reflect on your 5-day challenge of practicing gratitude. This is also the day that you can take the lid off your Gratitude jar or container and read all of the things that you were grateful for throughout the 5 days. Also, take some time to think about how you were able to focus on and connect to all the good and positive things, people, etc. that surround you. Once you have finished reflecting, create a list of positive affirmations that include some of the things you are thankful for. Start reading this list every morning as part of your daily routine to get your days started on a positive note.
Continue to integrate a gratitude activity into your daily routine as often as possible. This will help you to maintain a more positive mindset and outlook on life.
Ready - set - start cultivating your attitude for gratitude.