In our overbooked and overwhelming lives, mindful gratitude can help us slow down, to take a couple of minutes to appreciate where we’re at, rather than constantly looking towards the future or back into the past. This ability to focus on the present and all it has to offer us is one that can change your life immensely; improving your relationships, your ability to manage your emotions, and so much more. All you need to do is find a few minutes in your day to practice mindful gratitude to reap these benefits.
Here are a few simple practices rooted in gratitude that can help keep you present.
Try Mindful Gratitude Journaling
Mindful gratitude journaling is a great way to start training your brain to focus on gratitude. You can pick a few minutes during the day—whether that’s in the morning before your day begins, before you go to bed at night, or even on your commute—to take note of a few things you’re truly grateful for. While writing down five things a day that you’re grateful for may not seem like much, over time you’ll still gain benefits from this practice.
When you first begin this practice, you may find yourself reaching towards the same things to be grateful for each day, but you’ll find the greatest benefit from moving beyond these things—your family, your health, etc.—and taking a bit more time to find smaller, but no less significant things, like the way light comes through your curtains in the morning or the toddler who waved at you on the subway the day before.
Try a Gratitude Meditation
There are also countless meditations on Youtube or on apps like Calm or Headspace that you can use each day to bring more focus to feelings of gratitude. Guided gratitude meditations are great when you’re just starting to create a gratitude practice because the guide of the meditation will help you to focus your thoughts and lead you back to the focus of the meditation if your thoughts drift away at any point. Not only will gratitude meditations allow you to reap the benefits of gratitude, but you’ll also be reaping the benefits of meditation, which include reducing stress, aiding anxiety, and increasing attention span, among others. When you feel prepared, you can leave the guided meditations, and try to sit and only focus on feelings of gratitude and your breathing to gain even more benefits.
Make a Mindful Gratitude Jar
A mindful gratitude jar can become a part of your gratitude practice that you add to each day. The idea behind a gratitude jar is that you set aside a few minutes each day to write something you’re grateful for to add to the jar, and at the end of a week, a month, or even a year you can open the jar and look at all the things you’ve been grateful for in that period of time.
Make a Gratitude Vision Board
While a gratitude vision board is something you make once, it’s something you can hang up on your wall and see every day. By collecting photos and words that you’re grateful for onto a kind of vision board, you’ll keep your intention to focus on gratitude in the front of your mind. This will help you to keep up with any other gratitude practices that you’re trying to implement into your daily routines by reminding you of your focus each time you see it.
Say Thank You
The easiest way to implement more mindful gratitude into your life is to make sure you’re expressing gratitude in your daily interactions and in your important relationships. Make sure you’re thanking anyone who performs a service for you during the day—the bus driver, the cashier, etc.—or that you’re thanking your partner or your family members for little things they do for you each day.
Getting away from your daily routines is a great way to get back in touch with gratitude; to notice how many simple things in life there are to be grateful for. However, implementing more gratitude into your daily life will help you find more joy in your routines, and will bring more mindfulness to each moment.
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