Do you think of gratitude as a habit, a practice or a value? I often speak about all three, each one having a place in our everyday lives. When we are focusing on how to be more grateful every day, it’s important to look at each one separately and figure out how to fit all of them together in the end. As you read this post, I invite you to take a look at your own habits, practices, and values. Then you can decide whether or not you are living in alignment with these on a daily basis.
Let’s start with habits.
Habits are the things we repeat every day, such as writing in a gratitude journal or choosing to wake up with gratitude. I share my favorite morning routines in this post which will be helpful when you’re looking to create new gratitude habits. My favorite morning gratitude habit is to simply say, ‘Thank you for this gift of another day and the opportunity to be of service to others and make a difference in the world.’ Which of your morning habits is currently serving you well? And which ones are not?
The old adage that it takes 21 days to create a habit is not always accurate. I’ve found that a new habit can be created in a matter of days, once you’ve made the decision to change. And it’s often much easier to create a new habit, rather than trying to get rid of an old one. For example, let’s say you have a habit of pressing snooze a few too many times and are often late for work. Create a new habit by choosing to wake up with gratitude, which could include changing the name of your alarm to ‘I am grateful’. That way when you see your alarm, it reminds you to be grateful. This will often make you smile and start to wake up, as you think of what you are grateful for this morning.
What about a gratitude practice?
Practices are when we use gratitude to help us in different situations. For example, we can practice gratitude while waiting in line, instead of being frustrated. Keep a list of simple things that you’re grateful for in your phone, such as clean drinking water and electricity. Instead of scrolling through your social media feeds, review your list of things you’re grateful for. That will quickly shift your mood!
We can also practice gratitude with others when we acknowledge and give thanks for those that make a difference in our lives. Sending out gratitude cards or Thank-You cards is a great way to do this. We live in a time where a physical piece of mail is very special. Taking a few moments, each week, to send out one or two cards of thanks is a very valuable and inexpensive gratitude practice.
For many of our Tiny Devotions tribe members, both yoga and meditation are also daily practices. You can incorporate gratitude into both of these easily. This post from the Chopra Center shares some excellent poses that inspire gratitude. I am also a fan of guided gratitude meditation and use my Insight Timer app daily. Which app do you use for meditation (if you do use one)? If you’d like to download a guided gratitude meditation, I’ve recorded a 10 minute one for you that you use to start your day.
How does gratitude fit into our values?
And lastly, as a value, it’s when we choose to live a life that is built on a foundation of gratitude. It’s when we choose gratitude first and often, as a way of relating to others and understanding our differences. As we learn how to be more grateful, we start to think of gratitude as one of our values. It may not be a core value for you, as it is for me; however I highly encourage you to include it in your top five core values. Our core values help us to make decisions and are expressed in how we show up in the world. We can choose to find a way to be grateful in any given situation, whether it’s full of joy or great sadness.
Which one of these is right for you?
In summary, there are many ways in which we can easily include gratitude in our everyday lives. What’s most important is that we choose to include gratitude from the moment we wake up in the morning, til we lay our heads down at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter where you start. Make a decision to live a more grateful life and you’ll find that your habits, practices and values will evolve over time. When we live in alignment with our values we tend to have a better outlook on the world and find our groove much more easily.
Julie Boyer’s mission in life is to inspire people to build their lives on a foundation of gratitude through her brand, Wake Up With Gratitude™. Julie’s first book, 30 Days of Gratitude, The Gratitude Program That Will Change Your Life, became an Amazon bestseller when it was released in May 2013. She is also the founder of the 30 Day Whole Body Detox Program, a healthy, whole food detox that nourishes your body at the cellular level. Julie also loves to mentor and develop leaders through her mentorship program as well. A former triathlete, Julie has completed 3 full Ironman Distance triathlons. Julie lives in Ontario, Canada with her 6 year old daughter and husband Dan. She can be reached on her blog, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.