Hey everyone! This post is very special to me not only because of content but because of the author! No.. its not me again, it's my big brother Chad coming at you with a few truth bombs. I recently wrote a post about 5 ways to practice gratitude - here are those techniques in practice below!
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Alright Chad, take it away!
Lately, I have been making an effort to practice gratitude. I don’t believe in the sunshine and rainbows type positivity. Life can be hard, but life is also filled with blessings. Practicing gratitude doesn’t diminish or remove the struggles you have in life, but it really can lift you out of a bad spot.
I have taken to spending a few moments each day thinking about how lucky I am. I can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. I can walk. I can run. I have great health. I do not have any debilitating disease. Then, I begin to consider that I have a home, a job, food, and an excess of material possessions. I live in a safe place and don’t have to fear for my life. I, occasionally, get to act as a profession. In my spare time, I write and try to share it with others. I have two wonderful pets, Nymeria and Celia. I have a wonderful family and a wonderful new family. I have the best wife in the world. Fact check: True.
Consider, for a moment, any particular element of your life. Any single thing that you are grateful for. Why are you grateful for that element? Think about it for a while. What was one thing about it that it brought you joy today? One thing about it that helped you today? Spend some time with it. Cherish it.
So far, this gratitude exercise seems pretty “me-centric.” The next step is taking to sharing your gratitude with others. We say “thank you” now as a secondary reaction. Make sure to take the time to thank people and not in that auto-response type way. Slow down and really thank them. I have recently taken to expressing gratitude with someone whenever I just so happen to think about an experience with them. The gratitude isn’t about reciprocation either. Treat gratitude as a gift to give.
A few years ago, while in Mary Baldwin’s Shakespeare and Performance MFA, we participated in a gratitude exercise at the end of the year. The tension in the room was all-encompassing as we sat there for the last time as a group. Then we began to share things that we appreciated about one another and with each passing gift given around the room the tension began to dissipate. In fact, I personally went from extremely agitated to kind of sad that our time together was over.
Yes, hearing that people appreciated me had a bit to do with it, but hearing all the wonderful things that everyone around me had done and considering how grateful I was for the things they accomplished and the time and energy they had contributed did the bulk of the work towards alleviating my agitation.
Gratitude helps you to look inward and outward. Sometimes, it is easy to give your entire focus to negative things you cannot control. Gratitude allows you to celebrate the positive things you cannot control.
Now, this type of practice makes some people uncomfortable. Admittedly, I use to think it was silly. What? I was going to list all the things in my life that aren’t absolute hot flaming garbage and suddenly I will feel a little better? Well, it does make me feel better. It doesn’t fix my problems, but helps me to not fixate on my problems. Student loan debt, bad relationships, struggling careers won’t be magically turned around by gratitude, but maybe it can give you a few moments to smile throughout the day and some days that’s enough.
Hey, its me again! I would so appreciate if you supported both Chad and myself by sharing this post or leaving a comment below letting me know what you think.