7 Simple Steps to Cultivate Gratitude

Cultivate gratitude and you cultivate happiness! Here are a few simple ideas that can help you open your heart, see more beauty and enjoy life!

1. Keep a gratitude journal. What better way to cultivate gratitude than articulating it in words? Keep a special journal and enter what you are grateful for each day. It doesn't need to be an expensive journal, nor do you have to write elaborate entries. A simple notebook with a thought or two can assist you to see more of the beauty in your life. When you focus on the positive, it generates more positive. You may find that you as you go along, you want to expand your entries as you discover more things to be grateful for!

2. Never compare. We are each on our path. Never compare your struggles and gains to anyone else. Every person is creating their own unique way in the world. See your environment as a tool for learning, but never focus on where another person may be. Feel gratitude for your own complexity, idiosynchronicities and uniqueness!

3. Start small. Especially when things are tough, focusing on the tiniest things can really shift your perspective. Challenge yourself to find the little joys and simple pleasures. When you eat, think about the texture of the food and savor the flavors. When you walk, feel how amazing it is to have this intricate body work for you. When out with friends, find something magical about them and tell them so. Slowly, but surely, these "little things" will add up!

4. Meditate. Mediation can help you find more clarity. By taking time each day to focus and clear the mind, it is much easier to gain perspective on what truly holds importance. At the beginning of your meditation, try setting an intention of gratitude. Name a few things you are grateful for before you begin. See what happens!

5. See the now. Live the now. (I am sure you have heard this one before. But a gentle reminder couldn't hurt!) If you can live in the moment and experience what is occurring as it happens, you will discover many joys once overlooked. There is abundance in the feeling your feet in the grass, in smelling the change of season, in watching your child play. All tiny moments we would miss if we are contemplating the future instead of being mindful of the now. All things to be grateful for!

6. Honor the pain. Try seeing your obstacles, fears, pains in a different light. Use them as material for gratitude. Think about your lowest times, rejections or other challenges. Think about what was necessary to do to overcome them. It is in this light we can see how they actually created an environment for you to thrive and to grow. Be grateful for these moments that have shaped your life. Honor them as teachers, not as enemies.

7. Give thanks. Say thank you more! Find a quality you enjoy in each person you interact with in the day- the man at the checkout counter at the store, your spouse, your friend, your coworker. Look for beauty and kindness in your daily life and it will be easy to find gratitude. Thank others for the little things they do even if you don't know them well. Look them in the eyes, say thank you and, most importantly, enjoy it.

I would love to hear how gratitude has changed your perspective!

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