Make gratitude a daily practice with the help of a few experts.
It’s no secret that practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to boost your immune system and provide a host of other physical and mental benefits. So why do we only set aside one day of the year to practice being thankful?
Today, set aside some time to practice gratitude and carry that practice into your daily routine to experience all that life has to offer.
Not sure where to start? We asked a few motivational experts to share how they practice gratitude, and how they’ve seen it change their lives—and the lives of others around them.
Be thankful in the present tense
I practice gratitude by being thankful for what I already have. The most powerful place for me to be able to tap into my well of gratitude is when I am present in the moment and fully engaged in life. I remind myself that gratitude is the heart’s ability to remember, and it is only when I reflect and remember all that I “have” that my life will rise up to meet me, and bless me with more opportunities than I could ever want or need. It is then my privilege to help others tap into their well of gratitude so that we can begin to create a ripple effect for goodness in the world. –Petra Kolber, speaker, writer, movement motivator and happiness expert
Replace negativity with gratitude
I stop and think daily about how grateful I am to have lived the life I’ve lived—the good, the bad, the hurtful, the joyous and the challenging. I’m grateful for the opportunities. And if I fail, I’m grateful for the opportunity to fail because I will learn so much from that. Being grateful and seeing pitfalls and setbacks as opportunities keeps me going forward.
Try this experiment for yourself today: Set your timer and make the effort to say thank you every hour. If a negative or complaining type thought enters your mind, replace it with a positive thought. See how you feel at the end of the day.
Here are a few gratitude affirmations to start with:
“I give thanks now for my life of health, happiness and self-expression.”
“All things are now working together for good in my life.”
“I experience gratitude for everything I have in my life.” –Cynthia Pasquella-Garcia, celebrity nutritionist, spiritual leader, media personality and best-selling author
Every night, before bed, I sit with my two young kids and ask them three things they’re grateful for. Then I share three things I am grateful for. We also talk about our wins for the day, which are things we worked for and achieved. The best part is that then we celebrate our “fails”—the things we worked for but didn’t achieve, which means we are growing at our capacity. The whole process takes about 10 minutes, and the benefits are exponential. This is important because gratitude—especially for failure—literally rewires your brain. Even a simple gratitude writing practice builds lasting neural sensitivity to more positive thinking. That means the more you practice gratitude, the more you default to positivity instead of negativity.
There are so many ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily life. Journaling is probably the most popular practice to date, but you can also try simple life changes, like spending time outside in nature away from phone and computer screen and other life distractions. Take a walk, and pay close attention to everything you see and experience. You’ll find gratitude for everything around you by simply noticing it more. Like meditation, gratitude is a daily practice that becomes more natural over time. –Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof, best-selling author and technology entrepreneur
Pass gratitude on
I express gratitude by connecting with people and helping them see their greatness. That’s what my dad saw in me and my siblings. He woke me up every morning, rubbed my back and said, “You’re the best in there.” He allowed us to live into our greatness. And that’s how I treat the people around me—my family, friends, clients, etc. Gratitude isn’t something I do by writing down what I’m thankful for or only thinking about it during this time of year. It’s how I live my life, in trying to be a great husband, dad, friend and coach. –Bo Eason, former NFL star, acclaimed Broadway playwright and master storyteller
Watch gratitude grow
Life will bring you what you believe it will. A funny thing happens when you find your gratitude no matter what you’re going through: You find more things to be grateful for. And life changes for the better. What can you be grateful for today? –Mastin Kipp, author, motivational speaker and creator of Functional Life Coaching
Photo credit: Michail Petrov, Adobe Stock