Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 14th through the 20th and this post is a perfect follow up! Throughout the week, I shared ways you can practice acts of kindness to my Instagram Stories. If you missed them, you can find them all saved to the Highlight on my profile. I shared them as a way to help people spread more kindness. I love doing this because when you show people kindness you feel good and the recipient of your kindness feels good. And we all want to feel good, right? That’s where gratitude comes in.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude looks different for all of us, but it’s essentially the quality or characteristic of being thankful. It’s the readiness we each have to show appreciation for people, places and things. Think about what makes you happy and joyful. THAT is gratitude. I also like to think it is that warm, fuzzy feeling we feel in our hearts when something goes well for us or others.
The funny thing is, gratitude can be hard to define for some people because it looks different for everyone. What I found happiness in, you might find totally horrific. We are all different people with different hopes and dreams and different likes and dislikes so we’re bound to identify gratitude differently.
Where do you find gratitude?
Finding gratitude can be tricky. The easiest answer is – anywhere and everywhere. You can at home, at work (yes, at work) and anywhere in your life. You might not notice it at face value, but I promise you, it’s there. Let me show you.
At home, I find gratitude the minute I pull in the driveway. When I’m coming home from work, the first thing I see is my dog Luna (and sometimes Aries) staring out the door. They’re eager and excited for me to be home. You can check out a pic of them in action here. Some might be bothered by the dogs jumping on them, trying to kiss their face but it makes me smile every day.
Work can be a hard place to find gratitude. Many of us are in jobs we don’t love, but need for the paycheck. But if you look hard enough, there’s something. What makes you have fun at work? It could be lunch with a colleague or getting an unexpected celebration for your hard work. While we have to be adults and earn a living, we can still be grateful for small things. . . even at work.
Like work, life can be challenging. When it gets this way, it can be difficult to find things we’re grateful for. But even the normal, mundane things can be a source of gratitude. The person that holds the door for you at the grocery store can make your day. Someone letting you out in traffic can be a game changer. If you look hard enough, gratitude is everywhere.
Where to find gratitude when you’re at your lowest?
If you’re feeling sad, anxious or depressed, you’re not alone. Depression is on the rise and as a result, gratitude is most likely down. I know first hand how hard it can be to find something to be grateful for when you feel this way. Every two weeks, I need a weekend to do nothing. I stay in my pajamas, relax and give myself grace to get through whatever I’m going through. So how do I find gratitude? I force myself.
Yes, I said force myself. Finding gratitude is a choice and even on my hardest days, I make myself find just one thing to be grateful for. When you make the choice to find one thing, your mood changes and you have a better day. Think about it this way – what made you get out of bed today? Whatever that is, that is your one thing. Breakfast cooked by your spouse, coffee with your best friend, a new-to-you sweater or even the fact that you’re one day closer to the weekend. Any of these things could be your gratitude for the day (and every day).
Three ways to find gratitude
I want to wrap up by giving you three ideas to help you start practicing gratitude. I started with these ways and they have truly changed my life. Commit to one or all of them and you’ll feel a change too.
Keep a Joy List on your phone
A Joy List is just a list of things that you find joy in. A few of mine are
- Sitting on my deck in the summer with a good book
- Finishing a workout that makes me cry
- Slow mornings
I want you to create this on your phone because you’ll have it at your fingertips and can add to it or reference it on a whim. Use this list as a reminder for all the things that bring you gratitude.
Write down 1-3 things you’re grateful for every day
If you can only think of one, that’s fine but I challenge you to dive deep. I started this practice at the beginning of 2022 and it has changed my outlook on things. Every day, I look for things to be grateful for. Some of the things I’ve written down are
- Hydrogen peroxide and Band-Aids
- 80’s music on a car ride
- Buffalo Mac and Cheese
These might sound minor but each one of the things was something that changed my day for the better. Start with just one thing per day and the grow that list over time.
Say this mantra every day
Often times we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Especially on days like that, I want you to say this phrase – “I am grateful for this day.” It’s as simple as that. Even if you don’t believe it, say it anyway. Do this action before your feet even hit the floor. Right when your eyes open. Whether you say it out loud or just in your head, the act of saying this phrase will set your day off on the right path from the very beginning.