11 Simple Ways to Increase Your Gratitude
Gratitude – is it possible to have too much? There are so many wonderful benefits to regularly practicing gratitude!
What if your life was saturated in gratitude? Truly marinated in gratitude? Brined in gratitude?
If you want to have a delicious Thanksgiving turkey, I encourage you to try brining. It’s a process similar to marinating where you submerge the bird in a mixture of primarily salt and water or vegetable stock that helps meat stay moist.
While cooking is a creative outlet for me, I have yet to make a turkey for Thanksgiving or any other time of year for that matter! That’s one of the few culinary tasks I delegate to my husband so that I’m free to focus on all the other yummy sides and desserts. After all, my husband has some mad turkey cooking skills!
Over the years, my husband has smoked turkeys, baked them in brown paper bags, and even prepared them in the crock pot! But for the past several years, our turkeys have been especially delicious. He’s been following Alton Brown’s recipe that includes brining. It definitely takes some time and love, but brining a turkey is well worth the effort!
Don’t most worthwhile endeavors take time and effort?
Intentional Gratitude…Even on Thanksgiving
Of course, Thanksgiving is about so much more than a moist, flavorful turkey. At the heart, it’s about gathering with family and friends and intentionally focusing on all that you are grateful for. It’s crazy, but in the prepping of the Thanksgiving spread, focusing on what you’re grateful for may get overlooked.
A few years ago, my daughter was determined that there would be a gratitude moment at our Thanksgiving table! She brought a pumpkin that she had artfully written “What are you thankful for?” on. We passed the pumpkin around the table and allowed each person to write what they were thankful for while simultaneously sharing in more detail. It was a powerful moment!
Here’s the Kicker…
Without being intentional, it’s possible to miss out on being thankful even on Thanksgiving!
What would happen if practicing gratitude became your habit? What if you took time to dwell on what you are grateful for each and every day?
Brining a turkey significantly improves the flavor and texture of a turkey and an attitude of gratitude has a similar enhancing effect on your life and work. It naturally…
- Increases your creativity
- Helps you to be more resistant to stress
- Improves your self-worth
- Decreases resentment and envy in your life
- Allows you to be more forgiving, outgoing, helpful, generous, and compassionate
- Lessens feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Cultivates more positive emotions
- Invites you to be more present and alive
- Contributes to more joy and peace
- Strengthens your immune system and lowers blood pressure
- Prevents aches and pains – many of these are caused by negative emotions
- Improves your sleep by enabling you to sleep longer and feel more rested
- Enhances your relationships
Those are some pretty compelling reasons to up the level of gratitude in your life. With such an array of benefits, what’s keeping you from having an attitude of gratitude?
The turkey at my house has no choice. It is soaked in what my husband chooses, but you do have a choice. What will you choose to saturate your life in?
Will you marinate in problems, challenges, and fears? That never leads to the kind of flavor and texture in your life that you desire.
Cultivating a habit of gratitude takes intention and a way of expressing thankfulness that suits you. Which of these simple ways of practicing gratitude resonates with you?
1. Gratitude Triggers
This is a great starting place! It’s a clever way of reminding yourself to pause, breathe, and think about what you are grateful for! Put your phone to good use by allowing it to act as a trigger to stop pause and consider what you are thankful for in that moment.
Or use a physical reminder like a rock, wrist band, or some other meaningful object to prompt you to pause and contemplate what you are grateful for. If you choose an object, you might want to place it in your pocket, on your desk, or night stand – somewhere that you will see it often and be reminded to consider what you are thankful for.
2. Gratitude Jar
You can create your own Gratitude Jar or purchase one on Etsy. The idea is to write down something every day that you are grateful for on a piece of paper and then place it in the jar. Then choose a specific day like New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or some other special day when you review the contents of the jar and remember all you’ve been thankful for throughout the year.
If a year is too long to wait, review what’s in your jar weekly or monthly, but find a rhythm to be reminded of all that you are grateful for.
This is wonderful activity for couples, families, or even a team to do together! Imagine more gratitude in the workplace!
3. Gratitude Journal
Simply write down five things every day that you are thankful for. Use a dedicated journal, jot them down at the bottom of your “to do” list, or in your prayer journal. Some place where you are able to refer back and be reminded of all that you have to be grateful for.
Not so fond of writing things down? Why not use one of the apps designed to help you track what you’re grateful for like 365 Gratitude (free trial), Grateful: Gratitude Journal (iPhone & free), Presently (free and for Android), Gratitude Journal (New – iPhone & free), & Appreciation Jar (perfect for couples or a team).
4. Gratitude Collage
If you are a creative crafty type or someone who appreciates visual reminders, this method is perfect for you! It doesn’t even have to be fancy. Even doodles will do! Or create a collage using magazines, photos, or scrapbooking supplies to depict what you are grateful for.
5. Gratitude Walk
Talk a walk or a hike and observe the beauty all around you while contemplating all that you are thankful for.
6. Gratitude ABC’s
Use the alphabet as a guide to stretch yourself. For example:
A = Aunt Dorie – grateful for her upbeat positive influence in my life
B = Blankets on cold winter nights
C = Coconut oil in my coffee in the morning – it makes me happy!
Yes! Something as simple as smiling helps you approach life in a more grateful way!
8. Thank & Compliment Others
Make an effort to thank or compliment the people you come in contact with each day! Not only will it help you to look for the best in others, it’s a chance to express gratitude and encourage others too!
9. Be Present
Be completely right where you are and mindful of all the good around you in this moment! You might be surprised at how much you’ve been missing as you hurry through life!
10. Be GLAD
GLAD is an acronym for Grateful, Learned, Accomplished, and Delightful. Each day, identify one thing that you…
- Are GRATEFUL for
- Found simply DELIGHTFUL
Do this exercise on your own, at meal time with others, or combine it with any of the previous ideas.
11. Gratitude Prompts
Whether or not you choose to put your answers in writing is up to you, but take time to dwell on prompts like these:
- Who God is and how is He revealing His love to you?
- What fears and concerns are on your mind? How can you lay them at Jesus’ feet and stop worrying and stressing about all the “what ifs”?
- In your current challenges, what’s the gift or the good? What are you learning? Then choose to thank God for what you discover.
- What are the beautiful things in your life right now? Remember, what you focus on grows!
- Pick a scripture to meditate on. What is God saying to you?
- What would be different in your life if you fully believed that God works everything together for good?
Saturating your life in gratitude positively enhances your life and whatever God’s called you to do!
How will you increase the gratitude in your life all year around?