“Learn to love, enjoy and embrace what you have in the here and now.
That’s all you really need to be happy.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
There is more and more research showing how gratitude positively impacts our mood, attitude, health and well-being. Being grateful makes us more optimistic, energetic, resilient, peaceful, and productive. We feel better about ourselves and our lives, and even live longer when we are grounded in gratitude.
With all these benefits to being grateful, cultivating gratitude practices throughout our day is not only wise, but also deeply self-nurturing!
Here are five ways to practice gratitude throughout the day:
1) Start off your day by being grateful.
As Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully writes, “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
Imagine beginning every day in gratitude and feeling blessed to have another day on this beautiful earth. Try pausing before getting out of bed each morning and acknowledging how grateful you feel to be alive.
2) Express gratitude for your body and make choices that demonstrate your profound appreciation.
“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Nurturing our bodies is an expression of gratitude. Take a moment to thank your body for all it does for you and acknowledge the miracle that it is. Demonstrate gratitude even for the parts of your body where you experience pain or discomfort. It is sometimes through our physical challenges that we are able to recognize how much our body does for us that we have previously taken for granted.
3) Pause throughout your day and recognize the miracles and blessings in your life.
As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, “The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.”
Using mindfulness and your breath to connect to the present moment allows you to tap into the awe and wonder of being alive – the ultimate gratitude generator.
Take a moment to pause, especially before you eat and thank all the people who made your meal possible, from those that grew the food, to those who harvested it, sold it, and prepared it for you. Expand your gratitude practice to share with others all you are grateful for!
4) Be grateful to be you!
“Be Yourself. Life is precious as it is. All the elements for your happiness are already here. There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. Just Be.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Acknowledging and appreciating ourselves is a profound act of self-nurturing and is essential in our daily practice of gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal and be sure to include things you appreciate about yourself, your growth and what makes you uniquely you!
5) Make gratitude the lens with which you view your life!
I love this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, “Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”
I believe gratitude is a form of awareness that highlights what we value and cherish. When we come from gratitude the positive in our lives is highlighted and the negative transforms into lessons and growth.
May you cultivate your gratitude practice to fuel your positivity, optimism and well-being and may you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!
Please share your comments below to inspire and encourage others!
Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,
Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker
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