"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I grew up in a Catholic household where my parents relentlessly reminded me to give thanks before I went to sleep every night. It seems childish now, but I recall being thankful for the most insignificant things: “I’m thankful for the cotton candy mom let me have today.” Or “I’m thankful for playing in the park while school was out early." I remember as a kid how special it made me feel to think about the good things that happened to me during the day and saying them out loud always put a smile on my face.
Yet as we forge into adulthood, we forget, neglect, or even abandon the entire ritual. Instead, our minds are replaced with never ending to-do lists, work deadlines, household chores, social obligations, or fitness goals. We focus more on what is missing from our lives, rather than appreciating what we already have. Of course, practicing daily gratitude takes discipline, especially on days when we don’t feel particularly grateful. And it takes consistency to do it every day, so that it becomes a natural habit.
There are a number of very simple things we all can do, both in action and in words, to begin a daily ritual. These are some examples I have done that have helped me get in the habit of practicing daily gratitude: