Mindful Monday 49: The 5 Ws of a Gratitude Practice

photo-1472125208451-d51027951367.jpg“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

-Melody Beattie

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving Day can be the perfect day to solidify your practice of gratitude. Some families express what they are grateful for around the table before they eat their  dinners. Other people incorporate other traditions of gratitude through letters, journaling, and heart-felt acknowledgements through out the year.

Whatever your experience with gratitude, consider these five questions to develop a gratitude practice: 

What is gratitude to you?

For some of us, gratitude is focusing on what we have, rather than dwelling on what we don’t have. For others, it is an act of re-framing our negative thoughts into positive ones. Gratitude can be offering praise, thanks, and compliments to others. And for many, it is the practice of finding the good in even the worst of situations. How do you envision gratitude in your life?

Why would you practice gratitude? 

Numerous studies have shown that those who practice gratitude live a happier life. It focuses our energy on the positive aspects of our lives, and allows us time to appreciate them mindfully. It gives less mental space to the negative aspects of our lives because we are looking for the bright side. What reasons do you have for making a gratitude practice?

Where would you practice gratitude? 

There are practical ways to bring gratitude into the physical spaces of our lives. A gratitude jar, a journal, and even a posted list in a place where you can see it can inspire a practice by being regular reminders. Where is a good place for your to practice to ensure a daily habit?

When would you practice gratitude?

Truly there is no limit to when you can practice gratitude, but some people have “touchstones” for their practice. For example every time they get in their vehicle, they spend a few minutes giving thanks. For others, they spend five minutes at the end of the day journaling about what they are grateful for. Ask yourself when is a good time for your practice.

With who do you want to share your gratitude practice?

Gratitude is a learned skill. Sharing this skill with other can be a positive experience since you make time to acknowledge these people, but it can also help you both cultivate the practice. Who would you like to share the experience with? Your family, friends, or partner can help reinforce your practice.

Once you’ve considered these five questions, your intentions for your gratitude practice will be set.

Thank you for reading!
Lindsay

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