Grateful living is important in the world because, in our constant pursuit of more and better, we can easily lose sight of the riches that lay right in front of us and within us. ~ Guri Mehta
Imagine walking on a beach just before sunset. The sand is silky and warm as it slides gently between your toes. A mild breeze arises, caressing your face and gently ruffling your hair. You inhale deeply, feeling the cool salt air fill your lungs as the clouds explode in a riot of pink, orange, and purple. Waves make fingers of foam on the sand that reach out to lovingly tickle your toes. A slight smile curls your lips as you take it all in – the air, the sand, the vibrant sky, the soothing sound of the waves – and exhale gratitude.
Grateful living is moving through every day in an ever-present, thoughtful manner. It’s noticing the abundance that surrounds us and mindfully being appreciative rather than taking things for granted or (un)consciously dismissing the beauty and blessings in life.
Living in gratitude is experiencing both the small and big gifts life has to offer. It’s reveling in the warm sand sliding between our toes; it is that dedicated, luxurious focus on the moment we’re experiencing right now.
Grateful living is a practice that can guide us through life’s challenges. We are but boats on an ocean; there will be times when sailing is smooth and other instances when the storm is fierce. Living in a grateful manner makes us more resilient, flexible, and open to opportunities to learn and grow even during the toughest of times. It also enables us to have compassion for and offer support and genuine caring to others.
Living gratefully is a practice. It’s something you can learn, an empowering ability that can be honed, smoothed, and refined. Some ways to embark on living a grateful life include:
- Every day, take a few minutes to write in a journal or notebook things you’re grateful for.
- Remove or reduce consumption of negative information (news, negative people, etc.)
- Take time to express your appreciation for others. Let them know what they mean to you and what they bring to your life.
- Surround yourself with people you like and admire.
- Say thank you to those who serve you – the barista that creates your perfect latte, the clerk at the grocery store, the mail and delivery people, the DoorDasher, your children, partner, and coworkers.
- Practice mindfulness; meditation is a wonderful way to hone this skill. (Meditation doesn’t have to be long; it can be a short, simple one or two-minute practice where you focus on stillness, your breath, and your thoughts. YouTube has many short, guided meditations, like this one.)
- Raise your awareness of and reframe negative thoughts about yourself, others, and situations. If you catch yourself thinking something cynical, simply notice it. Then, take a deep breath, and consider how to reconstruct that thought to be open, unassuming, and sprinkled with appreciation.
- Go into nature. Whether it’s the beach, mountains, local park, or simply sitting in your garden, surround yourself with the life and beauty of the outdoors.
- Take the 30-day Art of Appreciation e-course to discover all of the fun and creative ways to be grateful.
As each person embraces the power of living a life steeped in gratitude, we can transform our neighborhoods, communities, cities, nations, and the world.
To learn more about gratitude, listen to a recent podcast episode I did about how to “Create a Life of Joy Through Gratitude.”