5 Ways to Find Gratitude in what you already have


Let's talk about the importance of reflecting on what you already have

As you already know, it is easy to get busy and overwhelmed in the thick of things in life. We can even get a bit out of touch at times when we get hung up on things that seem important at the time, but are they really improving our lives or building our relationships with others? When we have a struggle we’re dealing with, we can ask… “will this challenge even be remembered in two weeks, two months, two years, or twenty years?” Oftentimes it will not, right? This little thought can help us focus on what’s important.

On the flip side of things though, we also DO have a lot to be thankful for no matter what life throws at us or what stage we are in. So the question is… how do we learn to let go of the distractions and give them less priority. And… how do we learn to appreciate all we have and boost our gratitude for these items, experiences, and relationships?

We often get so caught up chasing the next best thing, and in doing so, we forget to appreciate all we have right now. Not only in material stuff, but also in personal skills, abilities, and relationships. I like this quote by Wayne Dyer, but I sometimes forget about this – “You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.”

“You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.”

We all have our own ideas of what this means and our own definitions of happiness, joy, and peace. Maybe that is part of the problem. No matter how we define this stuff, do you agree that we have a lot, right now, to be thankful for? If not, I hope this article helps.

Examples of things to be thankful for…

Everyone has their own unique list and ideas to be thankful for, but what about things like…

  • Where you live – Does your local community offer fun things to do and see? Does it offer ways to connect with friends and family? Do you love the weather in your part of the world? What about your home, does it meet your needs or exceed them?

  • Your Relationships – Do you have healthy relationships with your family? Maybe good connections with your parents? Maybe a partner? What about your kids or nieces and nephews? Cousins, Aunts, and Uncles maybe? What about your friends or coworkers? Hopefully you have some good connections and relationships.

  • Nature – Oftentimes we neglect the nature that is right outside our window. Can you see beauty in the grass, or the trees, or the birds or other animals, or in flowers around your home? What about in the rain or snow or cool falls and fall foliage or spring blooms. Think about fresh air, maybe lakes or mountains if you have access to them. Most of us, even city dwellers can find bits of nature that can inspire us. Learn to appreciate both the big and small of these things.

The most important function of thankfulness is that it allows you to open your heart, mind, and soul to goodness, gratitude, and light.


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1. Regular Practice -

 Have you ever thought about making gratitude a regular part of your daily self-care routine? To create a new habit, sometimes it is best to tie the new habit to an old habit. So for example, I often take a few moments to reflect first thing in the morning after I meditate. You could say to yourself, “One thing I’m thankful for is___.” Fill in the blank with something you noticed from the last 24 hours. Think on it for a minute or so. Smile about it. Then go on with your morning.

If you need more help building a regular practice, or just some other ideas on gratitude, try my GRATEFUL LIVING: 5-Day Gratitude Challenge.

Gratitude… for Gratitude. I am thankful for my life, my wife and my family among so many other things.

2. Share Publicly -

Sometimes people practice gratitude alone, but if you want to boost your experience and benefits try sharing your gratitude with other people. Saying what you are thankful for out loud helps solidify your gratitude internally to build a stronger habit. Saying it in front of other people helps build relationships and can often cause a ripple effect.

People like people that show gratitude, especially if you are grateful for them or something they did. For example… saying “Thank You!” or “I appreciate you!” are powerful words for relationship building and makes your friends and loved ones feel special.

Beyond this though, other people like to hear you be thankful for even the common everyday things as well. So for example you might share “The other day, out of the blue, my son offered to split his snack with me. I’m so thankful for his kindness. I was less interested in the snack, but his action of sharing. I really appreciate how that boy can put a smile on my face.” or “The other day I was taking a walk and I saw the most beautiful flowers. I actually stopped to truly appreciate their beauty.”

Another quick way to do this is to join the #ThankfulThursday movement where you share things you are thankful for on social media and tag it with the hashtag #ThankfulThursday. Spread the word and inspire others!

When your verbal acknowledgements to others demonstrate the gratitude you feel, you’ll develop a stronger habit of recognizing what you’re thankful for.

I am grateful for my family.

3. Notice the Small Stuff -

Promise yourself you won’t take little things for granted. Because life becomes crowded with people, tasks, and objects, you may feel challenged to notice small bits of wonder in your day. But if you put your mind to it, you’ll be surprised at what you see.

Open your eyes to the wonders all around you. They won’t cost a dime. A sunset, a warm cup of tea, or an ice-cold glass of water when you get home from work can be great reasons to feel gratitude. I can’t tell you how much I love a cold glass of water in a pint glass. It’s just so refreshing and a real joy in my life.

Maybe noticing the smell of cookies when they’re baking in the oven or even your child’s impish smiles are other things that might remind you of your blessings.

Take a moment to STOP and find gratitude!
Photo by thecrazyfilmgirl

4. Learn to Turn Your Thoughts Around -

When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, imagine a big stop sign and say, “Stop” out loud. Then, replace the stop sign with an image of something around you that you’re grateful for right at that moment. Think about that object, experience, person, or situation and bask in your positive experience. This might seem silly, but you’d be amazed at how your attitude or mood can change by introducing some new and positive. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to add a smile fake or not it can also assist in changing your mood around.

I’ve done this with my kids before as well. If they are upset about something I help them find something positive in their current situation or introduce something I know they love. It works like a charm!

Photo by Rachel Kramer Bussel

5. Keep a Gratitude Journal -

If you find you’re having difficulty remembering to notice the things that stir your inner thankfulness, perhaps starting a gratitude journal would help. A journal is a tangible visual aid that will trigger you to think about what you’re grateful for.

Try just putting the date on the page and jotting down what you’re grateful for at that time. You can write as much or as little as you wish. Place your journal in a spot where you’ll see it frequently, like on the dining room table, the kitchen counter, or near your favorite chair. This way, you’ll be prompted to experience your gratitude more often.

A gratitude journal doesn’t need to be fancy. You could just use printer paper, a cheep notebook or you could buy a customized gratitude journal.

Being grateful is truly one of the things that make life worth living! In my studies on gratitude I’ve found many experts in the space share that being more grateful leads to a happier life and even longevity in life.

Each time you consciously decide to experience your thankfulness, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who couldn’t use a little extra boost of happiness throughout their day?

Open your eyes and mind to the people, places, things, and experiences you’re grateful for. You’ll feel so much better about your life.


Main Photo of gratitude guy spreading his arms by John Hain

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