Some time ago, I was asked by the editor of the magazine that I'm contributing to, to give our readers one piece of advice for the month of November. It's a health and fitness magazine, so my advice would be something that would add value to well-being of our readers.
I didn't think long. My message was: Practice gratitude.
It hasn't been more than some months since I started mindfully practicing gratitude, but I already realize how much it matters.
It may sound like a hippy-ish and weird and another woo-woo thing to do, and you may think if it really is necessary. Sure, it's not as necessary as eating or drinking every day, but it definitely adds value to your everyday life.
How I Practice Gratitude and How it Helps Me
Here is my little daily gratitude practice, which is very simple:
In the morning, instead of immediately jumping out from the bed, I take a moment to think of the things that I'm happy for to have in my life.
This is a very simple yet powerful action that helps me to get into the right mindset for the rest of the day. I'm starting my day with positive thoughts.
During the day, many things can happen, both good and bad. I have noticed that when I start my day with a positive note, I'm able to take the hard things little bit easier, because I'm constantly training my mind to be at a better place.
A lot of times, we can't do much about the things that happen in our lives, but we can decide how we perceive them and what our attitude towards them is like.[tweet_box design=”default”]You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude.[/tweet_box]
Any Time and Form is Good for Practicing Gratitude
Usually I just think of all the good things in my mind. But writing them down can be helpful, too.
As I said, I usually do my little gratitude practice in the morning so that it sets a good tone for my day. But it doesn't mean that there is one and only time to do it – any time is good.
You can make it a before the bed routine or take a moment in the middle of the day.
You can train your brain so that when something bad on uncomfortable happens, you can turn the things around and think about at least one thing that is awesome in your life. You will immediately see how your reaction to the negative thing changes. Trust me, it really works.
Awesome Things that had Happened by 9am
The other day at 8:45 in the morning, I was waiting for someone's phone call that was supposed to happen at 9am.
My morning had started early. By 9am I had finished teaching two workouts and done my own workout for the day. There I was, finally taking a little mid-morning break and enjoying a cup of Americano while waiting for my client to call.
I pulled out my notebook and without thinking too long, started writing down things that had been awesome already this morning.
By 9am, there were already so many things that had been awesome that day and that had put a smile on my face:
- I woke up next to my sweet husband. I appreciate it so much to have him in my life.
- I have a friend from Estonia visiting me right now. It has been close to 8 months since we last saw!
- Awesome people showed up at my 5.30 bootcamp. The energy was particularly great in the morning class!
- After that, I saw a beautiful sunrise. The sky was pink, orange, red and yellow all at once. I love early mornings.
- I had a great conversation with my personal training client. She is an amazing woman and I have learned so much from her through our conversations.
- I got in a hard, but great workout – 5×400 meters sprints with 10 knees-to-elbows between the runs.
- I was having a hot, strong, tasty Americano.
- I got a happy and funny email from my Mom.
Not too short list for that early morning, right?
Appreciate the Small Things
There are bigger and smaller things in my list, but they all matter. I'm grateful for having loved people in my life, but I'm also appreciating something as simple as a cup of coffee. Small things can be very powerful too. Small things add up and create big things.
Practicing gratitude is like building a house – block by block, piece by piece. The more consistent you are with building, the stronger your house is going to be and the safer and happier you feel living in it.