You're probably thinking "how can being grateful change your life?", what a load of rubbish! I don't blame you. When I was first given the book The Secret as a gift early last year, I experienced the same doubt. But after finishing the book and further reading and research into gratitude and the law of attraction, I can honestly say my life has changed for the better. Whether that's because I'm practising what I've learnt or sheer coincidence, but I firmly believe what you put out into the universe, you get back.
Before, I would have let the smallest things weigh me down and feel negative about certain situations. I've since learnt to look at the bigger picture and be thankful for what I already have, instead of worrying about what I don't.
Gratitude is simply giving thanks, and the benefits to practising gratitude are endless. Those who take time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for are generally much more positive people who experience less stress, which in turn makes them feel more alive, sleep better, and express more compassion and kindness.
I've noticed the biggest difference in my attitude at work since practising gratitude on a daily basis. My productivity has increased, as well as my ability to bounce back from stress. Appreciation keeps me focused on what's already good in my life, instead of constantly searching for better.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate gratitude into your daily life:
KEEP A JOURNAL
It doesn't matter if it's on a random piece of paper, an old notepad or on your phone. Jot down 3-5 things that you're thankful for each day. Even more if you wish!
These can be things as simple as "I'm healthy" or as big as a promotion at work. Remind yourself of these things throughout your day, especially when you find yourself in a difficult or negative situation.
Try and include things about yourself too. In an age where we're constantly criticising ourselves and picking out the negatives, it's refreshing to identify the things we actually like about ourselves. It doesn't mean you're egocentric, you're just being kind to yourself. The more you appreciate yourself, the happier you'll be, and that happiness will radiate to others around you too!
"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely" - Roald Dahl
SAY THANK YOU MORE!
This sounds like a silly comment to make, but simply thanking someone goes a long, long way. I don't mean waiting until someone has done something for you, merely telling your partner or friend that you're thankful they're in your life will really make a difference.
The words thank you are so commonly used now (and rightly so too), that sometimes we don't make the connection between the words and what they really mean. This is why taking the time to thank the people in our lives is so important.
I can promise you will notice the difference in your relationships too by doing this regularly.
CHANGE YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS
People often assume that if someone is giving thanks, it's because their life is easy and that they have nothing to be negative about. This is not the case at all. Those who practice gratitude understand it's how you think about a situation that makes it easier or more difficult.
PLAY THE GRATITUDE GAME
I picked this up from my friend who plays it each dinner time with her family, and it changes the entire energy of the group. Go around the table and each say the worst part of your day (or week, month, year, whenever), then go around again and each say your best part. Although you're mentioning a negative, the game ends on a positive note and it makes everyone realise what is most important.
The beauty of meditation is that it can be practised pretty much anywhere. On the train into work, in a quiet room during your lunch break or in the comfort of your own bed.
I use the app Calm, which teaches you the basics of mindfulness. Meditation has taught me to be present in the moment. Each day I have a million things running through my mind at one time, which makes it tough to focus on practising gratitude. Meditating allows me to take time to focus on myself, my breathing and just being in the present moment. It allows me to appreciate the little things, such as the simple fact I'm even breathing!
Dorothy is the founder of She Goes Wear, a Workwear Fashion and Lifestyle blog for women in business. Discover more on - www.shegoeswear.com