13 Ways to Live a More Grateful Life
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all of the others" – Cicero (106–43bc)
Perhaps the greatest of all pillars of character, gratitude is a learned, practiced art. It takes discipline, dedication, and consistency to even begin to master the art of living a grateful life. While no one is perfect, here are some easy tips to get you and your family started on the path to gracious living.
1. Write a Thank You note.
Yes, it's basic, but it is also the best way (in my humble opinion) to show gratitude. Handwritten cards and notes win every time. They also make us slow down just enough to get out a writing utensil and paper and escape from the pace and hustle of everyday life.
2. Give a genuine compliment.
A real, honest compliment. We are constantly evaluating everything in our heads. When we come across something we like or notice someone doing something well - share your thoughts!
3. Give an unexpected gift.
Let's face it: this is a wonderful feeling for both the giver and the gift receiver. Surprise someone with a little something that reminds you of them or you just know they will love. Don't wait for a special occasion, just do it.
4. Post positive notes, quotes, or artwork around your house.
Having encouraging words around our homes reminds us that we have so much to be grateful for. Make pieces of art with messages of gratitude center pieces in your most trafficked spaces. Create a free account on Canva and print inspirational quotes to frame in your office or home.
5. Be tolerant.
This is more important than ever. We have so many short interactions with others, we very rarely know much about what is going on in a person's life outside of our brief conversation or contact. Give others the benefit of the doubt when things don't go how you hoped or expected. Most of the time, it is unlikely that the person is intentionally causing you distress. Take a breath and remind yourself that there is likely more than meets the eye.
6. Wear a piece of jewelry to remind you.
I like this "Practice Gratitude" necklace, but there are so many unique pieces available these days. Try shopping small craft shows or Etsy for unique finds that match the message you want to keep at the top of mind.
7. Take the gratitude photo challenge.
Come on Instagram'ers - this one's for you! Check out this list and post once a day a picture of something in each category that you are thankful for. Don't forget to look back at the end of the month and reflect upon just how many things we have to be grateful for.
8. Do something to help the environment.
We have more to be grateful for than a collection of "things". Step outside, pick up some litter, purchase a reusable water bottle, plant a tree, give something back to Mother Nature.
9. Avoid comparison.
Yes, sometimes it feels as though our brains have been pre-programmed to judge ourselves and others on every imaginable topic. Challenge yourself to drop the measuring and instead appreciate the differences in each of us.
10. Do something unexpected for someone else.
Maybe it is a chore for one of your children or taking a batch of cookies into the office. The ability to perform random acts of kindness is something to be grateful for in and of itself.
11. Go on a family gratitude scavenger hunt.
Try this list of scavenger hunt ideas. Travel through the house and outside together talking about all of the different things in our lives we have to be grateful for. For more ways to teach gratitude to your children, look here.
12. Start one meal per day recounting something you are grateful for.
Share your gratitude out loud with family and friends. Maybe you are grateful for someone at the table? Sharing our thanks out loud allows others to see our gratitude in action.
13. Practice self-care.
Take the best care of ourselves allows us to take great care of others. Get to the gym, cook a healthy meal, schedule sleep. When you appreciate your awesome self, you will be more able to show appreciation to the others around you.
Gratitude is just one of the many pillars of character that are more important now then ever. Practicing gratitude in your home, at your place of work, and toward yourself will help you remember just how precious life is. Visit these blogs for tips on creating family balance, ways to teach kids self control, and empowerment.