By Meliza Schrock, Ultimate Spark! Graduate & Certified Positive Mindset & Life Purpose Coach
Picture this: The turkey is done and on the table with all the yummy fixings. A delicious spread of food is sitting there waiting to be devoured. The whole family is seated at the table, including ones that came from out-of-state especially for the special occasion.
A prayer is said before anyone begins to eat.
The main question being asked – What are you thankful for?
Now, the picture I’ve painted is a Hollywood inspired example, but it means something.
The question we are all asked when November rolls around is definitely not an easy one to answer all the time. When our minds are flooded with all the negative perceptions we hold about our lives and ourselves, grateful is the last thing we feel.
Recognizing the good in our lives is something that takes time and practice when we have been doing the opposite all our lives. It is something I had to learn to do as a way of shifting my thought away from the negative and onto the positive. These are 5 ways that we can include gratitude in our lives everyday:
1. Make a list –
“Get out a piece of paper, get comfy and start making a list of everything you can think of that you are thankful for in your life.” When I first heard this, I didn’t think I would have much to write. After all, I was so used to spending most of my time complaining about my life and wishing things were different.
I sat there and stared at my paper and started adding things to my list slowly. I started by listing people in my life that I was thankful for like my sisters, my nieces and nephews, some of my cousins and some close friends. The list continued growing with such simple things in my life that I mainly took for granted. Once I was done writing, I had almost 80 items on my gratitude list.
2. Establish a daily gratitude bedtime routine –
Every night before bed, make a list of the things you are thankful for from that day. If you prefer to simply say them aloud, that works too! Again, these do not have to be major things in order to make the list. They can be simple things such as avoiding traffic in the morning, a nice conversation with a co-worker or a laugh shared with a friend. Some days you may be able to think of at least three or four things to be grateful for each day and other days you may struggle to even think of one. The key is to keep at it.
3. State your gratitude in the moment –
The great thing is that we don’t need to wait until the end of the day.
Many times, things happen throughout the day that are little tiny sparks of positivity. As we continue making the shift towards turning our focus to the good things that happen in our day instead of the bad things, we get better at identifying the positive.
4. Show your gratitude –
Beyond using the lovely words “thank you” to express our gratitude for the special people in our lives, we can do things to show them our appreciation too. Treat a friend to lunch or surprise her with her favorite sweet obsession. Write a co-worker a nice thank you note for their support. Invite a supportive family member over for dinner and a movie. There is no need to cook a crazy 4-course meal but sharing a meal is an excellent way to show your appreciation for having them in your life.
5. Include gratitude in prayer –
Prayer is something that we can do anytime of day or night. It’s in the small
conversations we have with God or the simple requests for patience, strength and direction. For me, when things seem so negative and gloomy as they might for long periods of time, my prayers become a series of requests for help. “Lord, please help me find the strength I need.” “Oh, God, please help me find my path.”
When negativity is all that our minds know and are comfortable with, learning how to incorporate some positive into the mix. Expressing and showing how thankful we are for the things and people in our lives that help us along the way is one way of doing this.
Recognizing that we actually do have things in life to be grateful for takes time. Including gratitude in our lives on a daily basis is a powerful positive force against the negative. Challenge yourself to actively seek out your blessings, identify them and be grateful for them through your words and actions.
Are you seeking a Free 15 minute Coaching Session with Meliza? Email us at UltimateSparkCoaching@gmail.com or send us a message on this site and we will connect you!