Resources - Exercises to Try
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
By Suzanne Trivière
Like everything in life, it’s easier if you practice!
Many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier. The best things about keeping a gratitude journal are that it’s free and takes just a few minutes every day; but it also improves sleep, well-being, relationships and resilience.
How do I do it?
It’s as simple as picking up a notebook and pen!
Tip: choose tools that you love so that you can associate the feeling of gratitude with the pleasurable feeling of making crisp lines on smooth paper.
Make it a habit
Find five minutes at the end of every day to reflect and jot down the things that were good. In 21 days you will experience a difference in how you see the world. Once you start the process, you’ll find it becomes quite addictive!
For example, instead of writing ‘My dog’, write something like ‘My dog greeted me at the front door with excitement.’ Writing about how the people in your life make you feel is another good idea. When you decide to flip through your journal in the future, it’ll bring back those positive memories with added clarity.
Gratitude isn’t only about the big events in life. It’s about all the little things we experience every day that might bring us joy but that we take for granted. This simple exercise helps us to realise the good side to a negative situation – it’s okay to see the unpleasant side too, but don’t lose sight of the positives even when you’re down.
This poem by Carrie Newcomer is a great example of gratitude:
Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
Go With The Flow
Being grateful isn’t supposed to feel like hard work. The main point of this journal is to improve your wellbeing and create a time in your day to relax and reflect.
Finally, keeping a gratitude journal follows no restrictions – you can stick on photos and event tickets, draw and make a collage, whatever makes the process most enjoyable. The ways to customise your gratitude journal are endless, and you make the rules.
Gratitude is a powerful mental tool that gives you a positive outlook on your day-to-day existence. Practising it every day will set positive changes in motion.
You can read more by following these links: