I’ve long been a fan of keeping a gratitude journal to help with my overall happiness, a practice I’ve kept up for the past eight years. It gives me perspective when I need it most and reminds me that none of my days are without a silver lining. I currently write a single sentence of gratitude in my journal each day, and I’m fairly certain I’ve never written the same sentence twice. The things I write in there are usually novel and unique to each passing day. Yet recently I realized how many daily blessings are forgotten because I am simply so used to their presence.
The truth is, even in the midst of cultivating gratitude through my journaling practice, it is still easy to overlook the ever-present goodness in my life. I have (more than) adequate shelter. I have plenty of food to eat. I have a job. I have my health. I have family and friends who bring so much joy to my life. I have my dog and cat. I have clothes. I have access to all kinds of resources. I have so much in my life that goes unnoticed, and I am determined to change my mindset.
There are daily blessings we should all be thankful for, but how do we remember to keep that gratitude in the forefront of our minds? Here are a few ways to cultivate a deeper appreciation for all the things we take for granted:
Make it a part of prayer
The fact that you were able to take a hot shower and nourish your body with food can be easy to forget as you plow through your day at a furious pace. If you have a daily prayer practice, this can be the perfect place to insert a little more gratitude for those simple luxuries of modern life.
Prayer is always an opportunity to slow down and focus on what matters. Remind yourself to go into prayer with a spirit of thankfulness for the roof over your head and other parts of your life you might not notice.
Write a list
Remembering all the things I ought to be grateful for daily is a struggle. It’s not that I can’t call anything to mind, but rather that there is too much to keep track of. Instead of trying to pinpoint each and every daily blessing, I find it easier to keep a list in my journal where I will see it every day.
Writing out a list of your daily blessings and putting it in a place where you will notice it will remind you to pause and appreciate just how much you have going for you.
Say it out loud
I’m a big fan of daily affirmations. It may seem a little strange to talk to myself in the bathroom mirror every morning, but it’s worth it to start the day feeling strong and confident. I repeat to myself that I have my health, that my needs are met, and that I am happy with my life.
There is power in saying something out loud, and expressing your gratitude with spoken words makes it feel more concrete. I find that my feeling of thankfulness “sticks” a bit better if I’ve taken the time to say aloud that I am surrounded by people who love and care for me, and that I have everything I need to be content.
Originally published on November 8, 2018.