Best Practices for Living a Grateful Life
Lewis Carroll once asked “Which form of proverb do you prefer: Better late than never, or Better never than late?”
For me the answer will always be the first – “Better late than never.” Sometimes I feel like I don’t hold my life in enough rigor, and I’m probably right. However, as long as I do what I set out to do, even a few days later, it’s better than never doing it at all, right?
So today, I present to you, my second living grateful post, a day late.
Why is living a grateful life important?
It’s simple: Living a grateful life connects us to our purpose. It enables us to appreciate the people around us, the work we complete, the shelter where we reside and each experience we have.
This may sound cliche, but living a grateful life empowers us to find happiness. For those of us who tend to sit on the more negative side of the fence, living with gratitude allows us to see the positive side of life. In fact, it can transform us! With enough practice, we even may be able to train our minds to have a positive thought before a negative one about most of our situations.
How can we live a grateful life?
It may take some practice, but in the end, it’s pretty simple to live a grateful life. Here are some best practices I’ve learned over the past few weeks of consciously imbuing gratefulness into my routine.
See that patch of sun reflecting off your desk? Bask in it for a minute. Feel its warmth on your skin. Be thankful for this moment. That’s savoring the simple. Whether it’s a fresh cup of coffee, a job well done, a cat cuddle, a door opened for you, your hands in pizza dough or the leftovers in the fridge, be in that moment and savor it. The extravagances of life can be amazing, but when you stop to savor the simple joys in every single day, we make space for a grateful life.
Acknowledge the humans.
Sure, nature is beautiful. Without it, we wouldn’t be on this earth, but humans, we are the pulse of this world. We make it beat, send life through its existence. We each have a purpose. We each have our struggles and insecurities. And it’s high time we acknowledge each other for the imperfect beautiful messes that we are. Instead of comparing ourselves to the brothers and sisters who seem to have it all, let’s be grateful that we have each other on this planet. Let’s smile at the person next to us, say “hello” to the person we walk past, say “thank you” to our coworkers who make our days happier. Instead of being jealous of each other, we can use gratefulness to acknowledge the good AND the bad and ALL grow together.
Take deep breaths.
Above all else, it’s important to take a few minutes each day to breath deeply, settle our minds, and in that moment, be grateful for the breath that sustains our existence. Without it, nothing else matters. Everyday, take a moment to be thankful for it. By incorporating this practice, it becomes easier to take a moment to be grateful for life’s many blessings.
Forgive and forget.
Inevitably, days without gratitude will exist. Let’s not beat ourselves up about it. Instead, we can acknowledge its absence, observe what happened that day to prevent it, learn from the situation and MOVE ON! Once we understand what we could do differently the next time, wipe that guilt away. There’s no reason why we have to recall our mistake. Forgive yourself, remember the lesson and forget the error.
Write it down. (Can be done in conjunction with idea #3).
Whether we make mental notes, jots in our notebook or type a list on our phone, it’s important to take a minute to acknowledge and list the things we are thankful for. This can be daily, weekly, monthly, sporadically. The more often we take a moment to incorporate time to acknowledge gratitude, the more likely we’ll be to live a life with gratitude leading the charge.
With a little thoughtfulness and intention, adding gratefulness to our daily routine becomes a simple way to understand our purpose and appreciate our here-and-now.
Weekly gratefulness list:
My sister. She took a week out of her busy life to come visit me in Boston. I have a slice of home here in this lonely city, and she makes me happy. I’m proud of her and am grateful for this grown-up sister time.
My mom. Hey guys, it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. I’m thankful for mine and all the love she has for me. She encouraged me to be independent and always told me I could do anything. I’ll forever be grateful for all your sacrifices, all your trips to the library, all the great snacks you brought to school, all your cuddles, all the braids and all the style you gave me. You are an amazing mom, and I wish I could be there to celebrate you!
Perfect timing on Sunday. On Sundays, the train stations run at a much slower pace. Although Chris and I wanted to try a new church on Sunday, we missed the earlier train (getting ready) and the next one didn’t run for another 20 minutes. We debated staying home and just listening to a sermon online. However, we rallied and thought we’d try to make it. We rode our first train and as we exited, we realized only two minutes remained until the next train arrived to take us to our destination. We ran for it, actually made it on the train, and got to church with a few minutes to spare. It was an incredible service and was outside! Sunday was pretty perfect, and I’m thankful that the MBTA cooperated with us!
My face not hurting. Yesterday I suffered from a bad combination of allergies and toothache. My face was a bit swollen and my head felt like a brick. I took medicine and started to feel a little better, although I was exhausted! Today, I have no throbbing and I feel full of energy! I’m grateful for a healthier day.
All the beautiful thread. I FINALLY received (ordered it in March) the 50 reams of beautiful thread I ordered for cross-stitch and embroidery designs. I am so excited to finish/start all the fun projects!!!!
And one more!!