Practising gratitude can ultimately change your life. If you started focusing on gratitude activities every single day (even for 5 minutes) your perception of life will shift immensely. I promise. You will start appreciating those little things that are not so little though – you will realise the beauty of the ordinary. Suddenly, those things that you were complaining about will seem insignificant, and the people who were driving you crazy and their actions will feel like blessings. You will feel so rich with all you have and stop taking things for granted.
So, how to cultivate gratitude and make your life better?
What are the benefits of gratitude activities?
Practising gratitude or thankfulness offers many benefits such as improved self-esteem, energy and health, or lowered anxiety, stress, and depression. You will also feel happier and more optimistic, more forgiving towards yourself and others, and more resilient. You will start living in the present moment and feeling very mindful about your usual daily activities (but now you will feel them with a different energy).
Does it sound like it’s worth trying?
Well, let’s jump into our 10 most popular gratitude activities!
1. KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Every night, before you go to sleep, write down a list of three things about that day which you are grateful for. There is always something to be grateful for, especially if you have a roof over your head, water to drink, and food to eat. You can write down anything that comes to your mind – things that are small or big. Read through those three things and feel your appreciation for them.
2. PARTICIPATE AS A COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
Volunteering can make you feel fulfilled, happy and grateful. There is nothing better than the warm feeling inside of you when you help others selflessly from the bottom of your heart and without expecting something in return. You will also get connected to the community and make new friends. You can offer dog-walking, babysit or help in your local non-profit restaurant. There are so many places where you can feel helpful so it’s only up to you which one you choose.
3. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
A great tool to help you be more present and mindful are guided meditations. You can even find meditations that are focusing on gratitude and try these to help you with the process. I also recommend doing habit stacking and writing your three-things-to-be-grateful-for list after the meditation.
4. FOCUS ON SMALL THINGS
It’s so easy to dwell on things that don’t go as well as we planned. Realising that we cannot really control everything that’s happening in our lives is crucial here. Spending too much energy on the situations that are out of our reach is a huge waste of time and energy. Try focusing on those small things that you can influence and create a stable inner world for yourself so when an external tornado comes you will stay still in your own calm world. Some examples of these small things can be having a nutritious meal, going on a walk, listening to music or a podcast, reading a book and the list goes on. You get me.
5. CONNECT WITH NATURE
Can you believe that the same force that had created nature had made you as well? You are carrying the same beauty inside as your favourite spot at the lake or your favourite forest. Also, nature has this healing power that makes you instantly calm and grateful fro what you have. Some activities to connect with nature can include gardening, hiking or drinking herbal tea.
6. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
This is not necessarily the activity to cultivate gratitude feelings but rather all the way around. Studies have shown that quality of sleep is hugely impacted by gratitude. This is very likely by supressing anxious and negative thoughts that so many of us have in the evening when we ruminate about our lives the most often. If you practice gratitude regularly, you will be able to fall asleep faster and for a longer period of time ensuring that you will get the restful and so much needed quality sleep.
7. TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONE AND SHARE MEMORIES
Whether you choose to spend time with your loved one, your family, friends or pets, connecting with other beings is a great way to practice gratitude. you can prepare a meal for your closed ones, or watch a movie together or simply have a good talk whether it’s about your best memories together or some funny moments that are worth remembering. You can take a photo of you having the quality time together so you can always have it as a memory and something that you can feel grateful for. You can then give your closest ones these photos as a gift on their birthday or for Christmas.
8. GRATITUDE AFFIRMATIONS
Affirmations are extremely powerful tool that you should start embracing now if you want to uplevel your life. These are basically positive statements that help you to challenge and over come self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. If you repeat these daily and you try to feel them as much as you can you will start to accept them as your truth. These positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think – and act – differently.
I’m sure you’ve heard about all the benefits yoga offers, but did you know there is such thing as Gratitude Yoga Sequence that you can engage in. Some of the great yoga poses for gratitude are Mountain Pose with Raised Hands, Standing Forward Fold or Child’s pose which is personally my favourite.
PRO TIP: Count your blessings with every breath, smile when the pose gets challenging, at the end of the practice, express your gratitude.
10. GRATITUDE JAR EXERCISE
Gratitude jar is a very simple yet powerful exercise that can have profound effect on your well-being. You can take this as a creative activity and get yourself a jar, decorate it (you can put a ribbon around it, name it, write your fav quote on it, etc.) or you can use this template and print it out and simply write the things you are grateful for until the jar is become fuller and fuller. I recommend adding three things you are grateful for every day to cultivate a practice of expressing thanks.
Also, this jar will come in handy especially during those days when you feel a little bit down and you need to remind yourself of all those good things and people in your life.
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to cultivate gratitude and you gained some inspiration from these gratitude activities.
Let me know in the comments, which gratitude activity is your favourite or if there is something you would like to add to ”the list.”