We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
This is the second installment to the Count Your Blessings blog series.
Read Part 1: What a Difference a Bit of Gratitude Can Make
One really easy way to get started on a gratitude practice is to make it a habit to count your blessings both morning and night. You do not even have to write them down, as in a gratitude journal, if that seems too overwhelming. Simply taking a few minutes when you wake up and before you go to bed is enough to begin cementing this new practice into your routine. Before long, you will be easily noticing that blessings abound. Here are some tips to help you begin.
Easing into any habit is usually the best approach. By making it easier on yourself, you will be more inclined to continue moving forward. So, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to come up with grand examples of gratitude when you are just starting out. Just appreciating the bed where you are starting and ending the day can be something to add to your initial list. Sometimes simply recognizing a tiny blessing can have a big impact.
Make a mental, or physical, list of the things in your life. For example, you can say, “I am thankful for my family. I have a job. I live in a house. There are clothes in my closet.” If you have a favorite pair of shoes, put them on the list. If you saw a rainbow, add that, too. If you notice the little things, the big things will begin standing out to you more as well.
If you would like to make a physical list of the things for which you are grateful, click here to download a free one-page Gratitude journal. This will also get you signed up for the FREE 5-day Gratitude Challenge starting soon.
Add It On
A helpful method for remembering your new gratitude habit is to add it to your existing routine. Whatever you normally do in the morning and night, be sure to include a few minutes to think of what makes you feel fortunate. For example, if you have tea every morning, this would be a good connection to make. Sitting down to tea will soon become a reminder to contemplate on your three things.
Connecting any new habit to something you do on a daily basis is a great way to get the new thing to stick as well. For example, if you have a new medication that you have to take every morning, be sure to put it with your toothbrush. After you brush your teeth, take the medication. When making a list of things you are thankful for, put a note (or notebook) near your bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can use it to remind you to extend gratitude. You can use it before going to bed as well.
Create Visual Reminders
If you find yourself forgetting to do it or skipping out on your new task, add some visual cues to your environment. Post-it notes are great for this. Stick one on your nightstand. Add another to your bathroom mirror. Technology comes in handy for reminders, as well. Set an alarm on your phone so that you don’t leave the house or fall asleep without taking time to consider what makes you feel thankful.
I have these Post-It notes, and I use them all the time to remind me of things. I often color-code my reminders, so I think of that when I see the specific color.
Turn It Around
You can also try the opposite. Turn complaints around into something positive. Maybe you wake up with a sore back and do not want to get out of bed. It may seem obvious but reminding yourself that you are in overall good health and that you have a safe place to sleep can do wonders for your outlook. In a case like this, you may simply have to remind yourself that you woke up. Or think about what you did to make your back sore; if it was something fun with the family, be thankful that you could do that at all. Try to find the silver lining. It really works.
A good habit can be jotting things down during the day as they happen. It only takes a few seconds to make a note of what you feel grateful for in that moment. You can reflect on it later during your quiet bedtime routine. At the end of the day, you will be amazed at all the things you noticed during the day.
Hopefully, you now see how getting into the habit of recognizing the good things in life really is not all that difficult. A few small changes to your routine and you will find it is actually quite easy to implement this practice. Count your blessings to start and end the day.