gratitipositivityThis post is a follow-up to the lesson of gratitude that I learned from my friend, Carly, earlier this week.
I believe we can use our trying times to teach us the beauty and importance of gratitude, but how do we actually make ourselves feel grateful for the little things on a daily basis?
We can’t just “turn on” gratefulness. It’s something we develop over time. It’s a choice, and it’s a lifestyle. So, where do we start?
Here are 5 things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to be happier and fill your day with gratitude:
1. Write thank you letters.
After every birthday party for my niece and nephews, my sister has the kids sit with her to write thank you cards for all of their gifts. I’m always surprised when I get these cards because very few people still take the time to send snail mail thank you notes. The kids are still so young that my sister has to write the cards for them, so last time I received one I told her not to worry anymore about sending one to me since I know how much time it takes away from her busy schedule.
She explained that it is really important to her that the kids keep doing them, regardless of the time it takes. She said, “I want the kids to see me writing these. I want them to learn that saying ‘thank you’ is important.” In an age with countless toys, games, parties and sweets, my sister wants to teach her kids to appreciate every bit of it.
Letters don’t have to come in response to an event or a gift, either. You can send a letter just to let someone know that you’re glad that they are in your life. People are so touched when they receive “for no reason” letters because they are acts of genuine appreciation and love.
I used to volunteer a lot when I was younger. Some of my favorite memories are from Habitat for Humanity trips that I did with my church. I still remember watching a young woman cut the ribbon on her first home. She was crying and smiling, overflowing with joy and gratitude. It was truly humbling to watch.
Volunteering is an incredible thing and will definitely make you appreciate the what you have, but not everyone has a schedule that allows them to consistently commit to volunteering. Instead, we can focus on the smaller things by performing random acts of kindness. Compliment a stranger. Wait a few extra moments at the door so you can hold it for someone. Make dinner for a friend or significant other. These small acts of kindness can have a great impact on your ability to be grateful and positive.
Always always always spread a positive vibe. Positivity is contagious but so is negativity. Choose wisely.
I’ve learned that if I can stop myself from complaining and force myself to move on to something positive, I feel MUCH better. Otherwise, the complaining leads me down a rabbit hole of pessimism and I’ll just keep looking for more reasons to back-up my complaints.