Everyone wants to be happy. Right?
For some of us, wearing a smile everyday is easy. The small things in life are ALWAYS present and the larger things take the back burner. We all have a friend like this. The girl who is positive, uplifted and grinning from ear to ear or the guy who is calm, friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand. So what do these people have that we don’t?
The answer is – Gratitude.
You might be reading this and thinking – yeah right, Allie you’re crazy! But I’m 100% serious. The majority of people constantly want more. Our society has made it extremely hard to live a life of gratitude. The newer, better, bigger thing is always lingering – waiting for us to become bored and unappreciative. So how do we ignore consumerism, societal pressure, and our own desires?
The answer – by practicing Gratitude.
I hope you’re catching onto the pattern here.
The idea of being grateful is something we are all familiar with. Our parents, teachers, religious figures, etc. have instilled this in us from a very young age. For many years, it’s easy to be grateful. A school pizza party, a sleepover with friends, or a trip to the movies was a throw your hands in the air awesome thing! It was a reason to rejoice, smile and be happy!
Fast forward a few years, we are now ADULTS (merrrr). We have responsibilities, like really important things to do! Student loans, car payments, grocery shopping, taking care of our health, and keeping up with family & friends are just some of our many to-dos. So how do we shake this funk and rewind back to our roots of happiness?
With the New Year quickly approaching, NOW is the time to take control of our attitudes. All of us can experience happiness and a feeling of gratitude; we just need to set the intention! Below are 10 killer tips to help you set the attitude of gratitude in motion. I know that was super cheesy but I just had to!
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Write 3 things you’re grateful for everyday. It doesn’t need to be fancy or in-depth, keep it simple. By creating a daily reminder, we begin to recognize and appreciate what really matters. If you forget to write it down, no biggie, write it down tomorrow. This is not a homework assignment but rather a daily reminder to be thankful for life.
2. Get Involved in a Local Non-Profit
Do some research to find the organizations that are active in your community then choose one that inspires you. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn more about the local community, and provides a great feeling of giving back.
3. Reconnect with Mother Nature
Practice gratitude by reconnecting with where we came from – MOTHER NATURE. Start taking more walks outside, plan a picnic at the beach or in the park, rent kayaks or canoes, watch the sunrise or sunset, exercise outside, or choose a table outside when at a restaurant. Nature is around us all the time, all we need to do is recognize and experience it!
4. Eliminate Gossip & Complaining from Conversations
For some of us, this can be a daunting task. Start to pay close attention to what your conversations consist of and whom these conversations are with. You will begin to notice a pattern and it’s pretty scary! Guide your words and thoughts to be uplifting, positive, inquisitive, and intellectual. The outcome will be beautiful conversations and new found friendships!
5. Stay Present in the Moment
I know this is a phrase being thrown around everywhere but it’s 100% true. By being present, we recognize the beauty right in front of us. For example, I once read to be present when washing the dishes. So, I began to zone is when washing the dishes. I recognized the hot water flowing from the faucet, the meal I just prepared and enjoyed, and the pots and pans I owned and used, the simple things that all too often we forget. The present moment is where gratitude exists, it’s the field of energy where life is happening, start to stay here more, it’s beautiful.
6. Start a Meditation Practice
Find a moment to get still, gently close your eyes, take deeper breaths, and turn inward. Dim the exterior world so the light inside you can shine brighter! Meditation can mean whatever you want it to mean, don’t get hung up on complicated practices. Start simple and stay consistent!
7. Prepare Home Cooked Meals
Recognize that many of us are so incredibly blessed to have a roof over our heads and a kitchen to prepare food in. We have the ability to shop for fresh groceries, cook in a clean environment, sit down at a table and have conversations, and enjoy wholesome, delicious food. This an easy one to take for granted so remind yourself whenever possible.
8. Connect with Friends & Family
This might seem simple, but it can be quite difficult. Busy schedules and the convenience of texting keep live conversations on the back burner. This holiday season, pick up the phone and wish people a Happy New Year! You’ll feel awesome afterwards.
9. Start a Yoga Practice
If you already practice yoga, awesome! Keep on doing what you’re doing. If you’re new to yoga, that’s totally ok. Do some research on the style of yoga that appeals to you and in what setting you would like to practice.
10. Be Grateful for YOUR HEALTH
At the end of the day, this is the most important thing we have. Too often we take ourselves for granted – making poor food choices, not exercising consistently, getting caught up in social media, etc. This year, give yourself the gift of health and be thankful for each breath you take!