What does it mean exactly to “practice gratitude?”
Sometimes an idea such as gratitude may seem obvious. It means to be thankful. To appreciate. One may think something like this is too elementary to explore. But, when you don’t objectively look deeper into things, you don’t fully know or experience them.
A successful gratitude practice is setting aside time daily to think about (to name) things about yourself, others, or the world, which you appreciate. It can be a quirk about yourself that you grateful for, or it could simply be water. Clean water access is often taken for granted in developed countries.
Practicing gratitude is not about never feeling negative. Never disliking things. Or, being positive all the time. That’s not possible. And it’s unhealthy. It’s just about taking a moment to truly appreciate life.
How and when to practice
Both how and when are up to you. And, it doesn’t have to be just once a day. A personal example: I think about one thing I’m grateful for in the morning. But then, I have an app where I might type out things I’m grateful for in the evening too. At a minimum, I do it during my morning routine.
Routine is key here. Make either a morning or evening (or both) routine where you practice gratitude and maybe even meditate if you’re into that. You need time daily to do things like think about what you’re grateful for, and meditate, and/or exercise. Let’s call it Mind and Body therapy time.
To be honest, I haven’t had a routine for long, and I am still mastering my routine; tweaking certain aspects until it is 100% right for me. I also fail and don’t always follow my routine; but I’m being honest and recognize that; and I will get better about it as time goes on. You will too.
Ok, so again, how and when?
The above was a little wordy. Let’s try this again. One suggestion is once you wake up, have a cup of coffee, tea, juice, or water, and then jot down one thing you’re grateful for along with the day’s date. That’s it. That’s how simple it can be. Then do this again each day.
You can search the web and quickly find, from reliable sources, that gratitude is scientifically proven to improve your life. The brain can be trained.