Why bother with a regular gratitude practice which consists of writing down five very specific things you’re grateful for EVERY DAY? Well, here are seven excellent reasons why you should start today:
1. It allows you to notice what’s going on in your life so that you’re not just going through the motions of living.
It shows you the beauty in the mundane, that profound moments are happening if you just pay attention.
It’s the ice cream cone from the corner convenience store and the dimples on your baby’s chubby hands. It’s the smiling security guard who always opens your office door, the unexpected patches of green in a city filled with billboards, the promise of a sexy text.
2. It allows you to shift your attention from what’s not working to what is.
Maybe you’re burdened with yet another project and you don’t know how to begin. Maybe you said yes again to another unreasonable request from your boss. Maybe your house is a mess and you don’t even know where you packed last year’s Christmas decor. Maybe your credit card bill came and uh oh.
Instead of focusing on the challenges, a regular gratitude practice can shift your thoughts to what you can learn because you’re working on a new project, the kindness of your office mate who always helps out with your boss’s requests, the three-day ASEAN holiday when you can sort through the clutter and find your missing Christmas lights, the beautiful things and experiences you spent your hard-earned money on.
3. It cultivates the awareness of abundance and grace rather than scarcity and fear.
Instinctively, our mind shifts immediately to the worst-case scenario. By saying thank you for the grace that you have received, you will see that the worst-case scenario rarely happens and that the positive moments in your life outweigh the negative ones.
4. It allows you to trust in life more and in the belief in a kind and loving God.
By being aware of all that you have, you realize that you can choose to look at how life always manages to work out in your favor. You realize you can relax and let go, knowing that there is a loving God who is always on your side.
5. It’s an instant mood booster.
It makes you feel lighter, happier, more confident. Like yoga class or meditation, no one ever finishes writing their gratitude list and says, “I wish I had never done that.”
6. It improves your empathy—to see how people are trying, to notice good things about them.
This increased awareness of your experiences will also open your hearts to others. You will notice how everyone around you is trying their best, that help is available if you ask, that there is kindness everywhere.
It’s the cheery greeting on Monday mornings, the coffee prepared perfectly each time and the Powerpoint presentation expertly made. It’s the sweet hugs from your children when you get home and your husband’s embrace when you settle into bed.
7. It reduces your dependence on material things.
As you write about what you’re grateful for regularly, you may notice certain themes which indicate what’s important to you. You may discover how experiences, more than material things, make their way to the list. Because of this awareness, you can then shift your priorities towards more of what you value.