Simple Ideas for Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

Self-Care & Mental Health

It was my birthday a few days ago. I'm not going to lie, I generally have some expectations when it comes to celebrating—Would my friends and family remember? Would my husband do something special? Would we go out and do something fun? Well, this year I made an effort to bag the expectations. I knew the day was going to be a long one—work, school, frigid weather—so I planned accordingly.

I know that I feel the best when I wake up and exercise so I started the day off with the gym. I felt great, that is until in an overzealous effort, I threw out my back doing push-ups. Was this a sure sign of aging? Instead of feeling defeated, I chose to laugh it off and continue the day in stride. I made my favorite breakfast, spent the time I could with my husband and really just tried to appreciate all the good fortune I have, including many of the people who did in fact remember my birthday.


The phrase: An Attitude of Gratitude sounds cliché, but there really is something to it.  Someone once said to me, "where you put your attention will grow," and I’ve found this to be positively true. So how do you express gratitude? How about trying the following three ways:

1. Upon waking up in the morning and before getting out of bed, spend a few extra minutes with your eyes closed thinking of all the things and people you are grateful for, really letting that feeling of appreciation radiate in your body. If you’re not feeling it right away, no worries, it will probably come up later in the day.

2. Walk with your head up. Instead of doing an automatic shuffle through your day (which I find even more tempting in the cold weather), look around you and take in what you're seeing and experiencing. Appreciate those things that you often take for granted—a beautiful day, a good meal or maybe even simply the ability to use your senses.

3. Express it. Tell the people that bless you in your life that you appreciate them. Try it even if it's not always the case; focusing on what you appreciate about others generally allows us to cultivate deeper relationships with those we care about.

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