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Gratitude Practice: Cultivating Your Unique Habit

As November approaches, it’s the perfect time to practice gratitude. Establishing such an approach is a great way to appreciate life’s blessings. In this post, we’ll introduce you to how to create your own unique gratitude practice. One that resonates with your lifestyle and transforms your perspective. For previous blog posts about gratitude, see How to Practice Gratitude to Get Unstuck and How to Play Your Way to Gratitude.

Transcend Judgment through Gratitude

A wise author, Dain Heer, reminds us in his book, Body Whispering, that we cannot be in judgment and gratitude at the same time. Are you often harsh toward yourself? If so, perhaps it’s time to notice when that inner critic takes over. Harsh judgment often leads to a spiral of negativity. According to Heer, the antidote is replacing judgment with appreciation.

Instead of feeling unhappy about your (insert body part here), shift your focus to being thankful for the many tasks that part helps you perform. This transition from a judgmental mindset to one of gratitude can improve your outlook and help you develop a more positive self-image.

If you notice yourself being overly critical, stop. See if you can discover something positive about the situation. What we seek we will find. If we always look for the negative, we will find negativity. By training our brains to look for the positives, we reinforce that skill set and build the mental muscles that can help us feel better.

Gratitude Practice: Mutual Exchange

Sharing gratitude can amplify their positive effects. Consider exchanging gratitude with a friend or loved one. This can create a mutual appreciation for life’s blessings.

One way I do this is by exchanging gratitude with my mother in North Carolina. This Sunday afternoon ritual not only enriches our personal gratitude practice but also strengthens our family bond.

The other family gratitude practice we have includes sharing highlights of our day while eating dinner. We have been doing this as a family for about a decade. Some days it’s hard to come up with anything, but we always can say we’re grateful for the food in front of us and for each other’s company.

Cultivate a “Choice,” not “Should,” Mindset

For a gratitude practice to be effective, it must be something you look forward to. Not an obligation to check off your to-do list. See whether you can change from a “should” mentality to a “choice” mentality.

See if you can find tiny pockets of time where you are relaxed, maybe even happy. Use 1-2 minutes to think about a positive moment in your day. You have the beginnings of a gratitude practice!

At night before you go to bed, jot down three things that went well. They can be small, such as noticing a double rainbow. Or they might be big, such as launching a new website or celebrating a promotion. Doing so gives your subconscious positive statements to reflect on overnight. In turn, this can help you start a new day feeling positive.

Gratitude Practice: Diverse Ideas

Gratitude practices are not one-size-fits-all. They can take numerous forms based on your unique preferences. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Reflect Daily – Take a few minutes each day, perhaps in the morning or before bed, to reflect on what you’re grateful for. It can be helpful to center your thoughts on positive experiences, people in your life, or even simple pleasures.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal – Jot down things you’re thankful for each day. This helps you foster a mindset of appreciation. It also creates a record of positive experiences you can reflect upon later.
  • Express Gratitude to Others: Send a simple thank you or a note of appreciation. Do something kind for someone. Expressing gratitude enhances your relationships and spreads positivity.
  • Cultivate Mindfulness – Being present and mindful can help you appreciate tiny moments. Look for the aspects of your life that bring you joy.
  • Keep a Gratitude Jar – Keep a container where family members can store notes of gratitude. Over time, you will fill the jar with reminders of good moments, which you can reflect on together.

Review Your Gratitude Journey

Creating a unique gratitude practice is a journey of self-exploration and appreciating life’s rich offerings. In addition, a periodic review of your gratitude can provide insight into your personal growth. It’s inspiring to see how your appreciation evolves over time.

As we approach November, we can make a conscious effort to replace judgment with appreciation. Share thankful moments with loved ones. Embrace a joyful approach to our practice. Explore diverse gratitude expressions. And reflect on our gratitude journey. Through these steps, we enrich our lives and create ripples of positivity that can spread to those around us.

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