What being thankful can bring you today and 3 ways to start right now!
How would you like a 1-5-minute practice, done anytime and anywhere, that immediately improves your life? I hear you thinking; it can’t be that easy. But it can.
Gratitude practicing is getting more and more popular these days. And not for a bad reason! In multiple pieces of research, it is stated as the strongest factor in our happiness levels. There are so many benefits to get with quite small time & energy investments needed.
Plus; it’s super easy to start. You can start today, right now. But more on easy ways to get started right now later in this post.
Because first, I want to talk benefits with you. Because benefits are nice. They are the reason we start and keep doing something.
More often than not delayed gratification is a real thing. That is when you do something now, to get the benefits in the future. The same goes for some of the benefits of gratitude.
Luckily, there are also more than enough benefits you can notice in your first week. And some even right after your first practice! I always love instant or quick benefits, as they can help you stay dedicated. Of course, it’s often worth it to work hard and get results later, but results right now are pretty damn good too!
The immediate benefits of gratitude practice
So, let’s get into the six benefits you will notice within your first week of practicing gratitude!
1. Gratitude puts you in a good mood
This one is instant. Easy. Right away. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact! One moment of joy can turn your whole day around. And being aware of all that is good in your life, at this moment, can bring you that moment.
Did you know that being in a good mood is linked by psychologists to a happier life and more satisfying relationships? This truly is the pearl of immediate benefits of gratitude practicing
2. It puts things in perspective
Okay, let’s be real here. Even though sometimes we face truly big troubles, we can also get stressed, down, and frustrated by troubles that aren’t actually that bad. Like rain. Or bumping your little toe. At moments like these, gratitude can provide you with some much-needed perspective.
Take your rain problem; now you don’t have to water your plants! And nature lives on rain. And you live bc of nature. Rain is a source of life. And what did you just bump your little toe into? A chair, closet of even Lego? That means you have that object. It’s yours. That’s crazy! You actually have the money to buy it. The house to put it in. The economy around you that produced it.
We take it for granted so easily, but it’s actually freaking extraordinary that you have access to all that. So, if you realize this, and feel gratitude for it, you might worry about the rain or your little toe a little bit less.
3. Practicing to be thankful rearranges your priorities
Once you’ve started your gratefulness practice for a few days, you might notice some things coming up again and again. Things that you are grateful for every day- but never realized before. Like that cup of coffee in the morning. Or a moment of peace, sitting in the sun in the afternoon.
Now is your opportunity to do something with it! If this is what makes or breaks your day, make it a priority. Even if it means spending less time on social media, listening to your coworker complaining, or having to cancel plans you weren’t looking forward to anyway. Prioritize the happy moments and your whole day will change!
4. It will break negative thinking cycles
When you find yourself upset and get in the negativity spiral, gratitude practice can break it. You have the power over your thoughts, not the other way around.
When you force yourself to think from a place of gratitude, it will push out the negative thoughts. When you do this multiple times, the feeling of gratitude will become more natural, while the negative spiral will become easier to break.
It might start with just a moment of positivity, but that’s how it all starts. Moment after moment of being grateful will slowly turn your whole life around! So, let’s start breaking those negative cycles.
5. And thus, give you some room to breath
With this moment of peace, without the negative thinking, you will find some room to breathe. Negative thoughts can wear you down. They can be a hell of weight on your shoulders. Now that you have a moment of freedom, you will find that there is peace.
Breathe, calm down, and relax. In one small moment of gratitude, you can come back to yourself & start fresh.
6. Being grateful makes you more fun to be around
Think about the coworker who is always complaining. Who always sees the worst-case scenario and throws off anything that seems good. Now think of someone who is always energetic, tries to make the most of her day, and smiles more often than frowns. Who do you like to be around more?
Not that pleasing others should be your nr 1 priority, but it still matters. If you can choose to be uplifting & inspiring, wouldn’t you choose that over bringing people down?
Now- I also know some people who prefer being around negative, complaining people. Who will shout far & wide how happy people are just so annoying.
Let them be. Because let’s be real; oftentimes that’s only because they can’t stand it when other people seem to be happy when they are not. I know that used to be the case for me.
And I believe that even those people will (in the long term) benefit more from you being grateful for your life than you being a complete nagger.
How to start your gratitude practice right now
Plenty of reasons to start today I’d think! Again- it takes almost no investment and these are just the immediate benefits of gratitude practice. Then the long-term benefits are still to come! But how to get started?
And a little disclaimer; there is no right or wrong. You can be grateful for anything and everything. Sometimes I feel grateful for exactly the same thing, 5 days in a row.
And that’s cool! Who cares? You can be grateful for the fact that you’re alive, for the fact, somebody invented a hand-mixer, for your cat, for the fact you found your keys in one try, anything! No matter how big or small- how extraordinary or ordinary.
Here are my three easy ways to start practicing gratitude today:
1. Write in the morning
- Key points:
- It will take you 3 minutes
- You only need a pen & paper or your phone
- My favorite time to do this is in the morning, but it can be done at any time
If you already journal in the morning, this is the easiest way to implement it. At the start or end of your journaling, make a list of three things you are grateful for.
If you aren’t a morning journaler- don’t worry. This can be the thing that gets you started or just a ritual that stands on its own. In the morning, just grab a piece of paper, or even your phone, and write down three things you are grateful for that day.
Important here is that you don’t just jot it down as quickly as possible and forget about it. Really think about each point. It doesn’t have to be longer than a minute per point, but think – or write- about why you are grateful for it?
Example: if you write that you are grateful for your partner (which I often do); write down why. Is he/she very attentive? Did he/she do something special? Has your life been filled with many more happy moments since you’ve been together?
Then try to bring this feeling with you during the day. This will come more naturally as you practice more often.
I like to practice gratitude journaling in my normal journaling in the morning. But that isn’t the way for everyone. I’ve heard amazing things about this 5-minute journal. It doesn’t just focus on gratitude, it also helps you set your priorities for the day, and keeps it simple! Plus, it only takes 5 minutes, so it’s ideal for everyone who isn’t that much into journaling (Yet!)
2. Change your current situation
- Key points:
- It will take less than a minute
- You don’t need anything except some willpower
- You’ll do this when a negative situation occurs
You’re on your way to work. And a traffic jam occurs. Out of nothing!
Or you’ve made plans with your friend. You’re all set up to go. Then she cancels last minute
Or even- somebody you care about passed away.
All situations when negative thinking will quickly take over. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A gratitude practice can help you keep your sanity.
Of course, in some situations, it will be easier than others. And it won’t work 100% of the time- certainly not in the beginning. And that’s cool too.
This is what you do; whenever something bad happens, and you notice your mind going up and down finding all the different issues, stop. It will be hard, especially in the beginning and with bigger problems, but stop your mind and force yourself to think of something in this exact situation you can be grateful for.
So; to give some examples of the situations above:
You have a job. You have a car. You have a driving license. You have the money to pay for gas.
You have a friend; someone you’d like to see. Someone you like being around and spending time with. You suddenly have some free time- maybe you can read a book or put on a face mask. She called you just before you were going to leave. Not just after (always a win in my books!)
The last one might seem harder- but it isn’t really. The thing is; being grateful won’t take away the pain or grief. But it works two ways; being in pain doesn’t take away the gratefulness. It can exist hand in hand. So here we go: You have had a beautiful friend- or relationship. In my case my mom. You have known someone who made a big impact on you. Countless memories, moments, and lessons you’ve gained by knowing this person.
My mom passed away when I was 18, after a time of illness. Yes, the grief still exists. I still hurt. And I’m so, so grateful that she was my mom. I’m also grateful she isn’t in pain anymore. That I got to know her for 18 years. That I’ll always have the memories of a joyful childhood. As I said; being grateful doesn’t take away the pain. And the pain doesn’t take away any of the good moments either.
3. Share with your partner before/ in bed
- Key points:
- Will take 3-10 minutes, depending on you
- You don’t need anything. If you don’t have a partner (with you), substitute him/her for a cat, a friend on the phone or your mirror
- When you’re in bed will work for some, otherwise, dinner can be a good moment
Don’t keep your new-found gratitude practice to yourself, but share! When you are in bed in the evening, discuss with your partners which things have made you feel grateful today. This will enhance your overall feeling of gratitude, get to know your partner better, and end your day on a positive note!
Hearing what the other found great about their day will also inspire you to look at those things differently, and it will help you make their day! Because now you know exactly what small things matter most to them.
Besides that, it’s always extra powerful to speak important things out loud, instead of just thinking them. They become more real when they are real words, out in the real world!
So that’s it! These were the 6 immediate benefits of practicing gratitude and the 3 easiest ways to get started today! I hope you found this useful and you get to enjoy days filled with gratitude and happiness! I am dying to hear what you are grateful for today! Please let me know in the comments below, and maybe you can pick up some joyful moments from others there too!
Don’t forget to share this if it was useful to you. You might help someone else to lift their days!