Life Reminder: Define and Practice Gratitude For Yourself.
Being grateful for what you have can be hard when you run out of things to be grateful for. Gratitude can be an easy practice when you first get into it, but what happens when you start to run out of things to say? Better yet, if you say the same thing every night, is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.
Practicing gratitude daily.
I started this year with a planner. Instead of writing my daily activities, I set it up a little differently. Every morning, I’d wake up and write down an affirmation for the day. Before I went to bed, I would write down a happy thought (a good thing that happened that day) and one thing I was grateful for.
I found that starting the day was easier than ending it. Sometimes I would forget to reflect back on the day. If I didn’t make the time, the planner could be blank for days, sometimes even a full week. I found that I stopped writing down what I was grateful for because I felt weird writing the same things down every day.
When the pandemic hit, it was harder to think of new things besides the hierarchy of survival needs. My job, my apartment, my dog Jude, my family. These were the things I kept writing down. When it was hard to think of something different, I sometimes even left it blank. I started to wonder if that was enough.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude matters. It is defined as the state of being grateful. Grateful means appreciation for what you have received. In a way, gratitude is an attitude. A way of life, sure but I’d say it’s more of a state of mind.
I think the reason it’s always so hard for me to continue practicing gratitude is because once I check off my list, I feel like I need more. Immediately, I shift from a present state of mind to a mindset in the future. What else can I be grateful for? Surely, I just don’t have it yet. The issue I face with this search is that I forget about what I do have.
Even if it’s a roof over my head, food on the table, a real-life-sized teddy bear (Jude), money to fund my creative spirit, a family that looks out for me and is always a FaceTime away; when you start to elaborate the list, it does seem like a lot more than you think.
Gratitude is both big and small.
We are all in different seasons of life right now. There are a lot of plans you had and those were thrown out the window eight months ago. You had to change and adapt. Gratitude seemed further from reach and sometimes felt like empty promises.
What I find helps, when I can’t think of anything to write down, is to stop thinking of something and just be grateful for the moment. Take your breakfast, lunch or dinner outside today. Bring a notebook with you, just in case. Watch the sunrise or set, sip your beverage of choice and just be thankful you’re alive. Leave everything behind you. Don’t even bring your phone. Take a moment of zen. You deserve it.