I want to share with you a little secret: until a few years ago, I didn’t really understand why people needed a gratitude ritual.
I mean, I’m a really grateful person by nature. I love people like crazy and don’t take any of the positive experiences in my life for granted. I deeply appreciate everything and everyone around me.
If I am already so grateful, why do I need a gratitude ritual? Why on earth would I add something else to my already miles-long list of daily tasks? Taking the time to write everything down I am honestly grateful because I felt like it was pointless.
But I was wrong. Totally, completely, behind the error.
A few years ago, I went through a phase where I always had this bad feeling as if something was missing. I was tense to the extreme.
It had nothing to do with material things – I knew I had enough (in fact, quite a lot, which is why I sold 90% of what I owned, including my house, to travel for a year).
I didn’t have enough, and I had too many demands. My to-do list was endless, leaving me feeling ‘lack’ rather than ‘abundant’ no matter how many things I had on my list. I felt like I couldn’t win.
Besides creating a list of people who shouldn’t (I’ll write more about that later), I did some gratitude rituals to help guide my thoughts and change the way I think. It was the exact change I needed and The instant relief was phenomenal!
I am a ritual girl. They are my lifeblood. And of all my rituals, the gratitude ritual might be my favourite. You may have a morning ritual or exercise—but do you have a gratitude practice?
A gratitude ritual instantly shifts you from focusing on who you are don’t do what you have to do Act Owns. And when you’re feeling stressed, a shift is exactly what you need.
Gratitude has proven physiological and psychological benefits, including:
- Higher levels of happiness
- better sleep
- increased alertness
- less pressure
- healthier body
With that said, here are the very simple gratitude rituals that can change your life.
Daily gratitude practice for 2 minutes
I like to do this in the evening right before bed, but you can find a time that works for you. The most important thing is consistency, so pick a time that you know you can stick to.
1. Get a small laptop This will be your personalized gratitude notebook. The laptop is key because it is necessary to put pen to paper in the ritual rather than writing. Having the mind-body communication of writing your gratitude manually amplifies the benefits, sort of like how preparing a home-cooked meal is always better for you than the one you buy at the store.
2. Keep it on a nightstand, Or another place you go back to every day at the same time. Perhaps a coffee pot so you can jot down what you are grateful for while making your coffee. If you’re anything like me, you may find that you’re often grateful for a coffee.
3. Every night (or in the morning), write the date at the top of the page.
4. Defining intentions. Tell yourself that you will be writing for a specific period of time. It could be for fifteen minutes. It could be for two minutes. I find that at first, it may take longer, but as your ritual becomes a habit of up to two minutes it only works.
5. At that time, write down what you are grateful for. Anything that comes to mind is fair game for your gratitude journal. Anything from the “big things” like health, spouse, and family members, to the “little things” like almond milk, a great new playlist for your workouts, and the fact that you can afford a dentist appointment this month.
- The most important thing here is to be as specific as possible.
- instead of “Grateful to my sister,” I write “I am grateful that my sister called me on my way to work and listened sympathetically as I told her about my disastrous history last night.”
- Take it up a notch by focusing on feelings rather than events. Like, “The comfortable feeling of joking with my sister about dating in the modern world.” Write what you can in your allotted time.
The journal will become a record of your gratitude. With each entry, you put a coin in your gratitude bank, and over time you will get amazing savings.
This practice revolves around me and calms me, reminding me of the most important things in life.
Get a notebook today and set a reminder on your phone. The ritual requires dedication and focus to build in at first, but if you stick to it for at least two weeks, it will start to become second nature.
When that happens, you’ll be on your way to a new situation and a less stressful day. When we take the time to truly and deeply appreciate all we have, our entire world can change for the better!