How to Incorporate Gratitude into Your Daily Routine
Gratitude is a powerful tool; it can turn bad days into not-quite-as-bad days and bring us into the present moment as a component of mindfulness. Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine isn’t hard, but it does take some consistent effort to rewire our mental habits.
Gratitude is an essential piece of living mindfully. When we are able to focus on what we’re thankful for, very often that grounds us into the present moment. Instead of fretting about the future or worrying about the past, we see what we have in the here and now. Gratitude can be a powerful tool in reframing our lives; you could be upset that you can’t afford the latest phone or jealous that someone else has more perceived success than you do, or you can choose to be grateful for what you do have. Gratitude and mindfulness go hand-in-hand.
Here are our top tips for practicing gratitude in your daily routine:
If you already journal (about your life, about your yoga practice, etc.), make a habit of starting or ending each page with a sentence about something you’re grateful for. Be sure to elaborate about what you’re grateful for, too; this exercise will be a lot more fulfilling if you can identify not just the thing you’re happy is in your life today, but why you care about that thing. An example would be, “I’m grateful for my yoga practice because it helps me get through tough situations in my life.”
2. Pair gratitude with your everyday activities.
There are some things we do every day, no matter what — like going to the bathroom, or sipping from your water bottle. Try to build your gratitude practice around these ordinary parts of your life; whenever you take a shower, for instance, list as many things as you can that you’re grateful for while the water heats up. Using four squares of toilet paper? List a thing you’re thankful for for each square you use.
3. Build it in to your yoga practice.
If you’re accustomed to a daily meditation or yoga practice, come up with a mantra that you can repeat with every breath as you sit or move. Not only does this bring you deeper into gratitude, but it also strengthens your practice when your mind is focused on one thing instead of running all over the place and wondering what you’re going to make for dinner. Some of our favorite mantras to use are “Inhale gratitude, exhale love” and “I am grateful for every breath.” Here’s a sweet 15-minute gratitude meditation if you need some guidance.
4. Sit in nature.
We can almost guarantee that if you unplug from your phones and computers for a bit to go sit among the trees or on the beach, you’ll feel a deep sense of thankfulness for the gift of nature. Cultivate gratitude by growing a garden, going for a hike, or giving some love to your favorite houseplant. Bonus: being in and around nature calms our nervous systems so we can relax more fully.
5. Tell yourself how awesome you are.
We’ve spent a lot of this article listing ways that you might be grateful for things, people, or experiences that aren’t you. Don’t forget to be thankful for your own existence, too. Your body is a marvelous piece of equipment that you get to live in every day; your mind is quite the super-computer; and your spirit is so uniquely you that it deserves celebration each and every day. It might not come naturally at first. But if you can tell yourself how much you love yourself every day for a month, you’ll start to feel a difference. Chances are, others will, too.
Hopefully, these tips will inspire you to incorporate a gratitude practice into your everyday life. It’s amazing what just a little bit of mindfulness each day can do. We find more happiness and greater peace with gratitude practices. If you’re feeling inspired, let us know in the comments what you’re grateful for today.