This Podcaster Believes Gratitude Isn't a Big Deal
An elevated practice that helps you live your best life? That’s a ritual. We've asked women we admire to share the daily rituals that make them who they are. Discover their secrets and try a new ritual for yourself.
A couple of years ago, I felt like my life was moving too fast; I was stressed out and didn’t have enough time just to enjoy it. I decided I needed a wake-up call. To slow down and realize that my life was good (and to enjoy that), I started taking time to write down five things I was grateful for every day. No matter what, I do it: busy or not. It’s changed my world and made me a happier, more humble person. Here’s my take on how to start a gratitude practice.
Get set up
Buy a journal and some pens; don’t just pick stuff you have lying around, pick something blank and dedicate it to this practice. From there, make sure you always have a gratitude writing surface lying around: even if it’s just a pack of Post-It notes, make sure you leave little writing utensils all over your apartment or office space. Just seeing those visual reminders – “oh, there’s that journal on the kitchen table. I should write!” – will help you remember to write daily. Pentel pens are great-looking and good quality for this, and Shinola notebooks, lined or unlined, are minimal and amazing.
Build it into your routine
Pick a time of day that you usually feel good during and take five minutes to write down what you’re thankful for. Not everyone is a morning person, so don’t force that. I have this issue that I wake up super, super early. Whether I go to bed at 10 pm or 4 am, I'm still going to open my eyes at 6:30 in the morning. And even when my body is tired, my mind starts going right away. The morning makes sense for me, but for you, it might not. Pick the time where you’re wound up and already thinking and harness it to be grateful.
Focus on the little things
Gratitude doesn’t need to be a big deal. You don’t have to think about your car or even your house. Those things are great, but eventually, you’ll run out of possessions for which to be grateful. When you start out, focus on the little things: what are you sitting on right now? Did you talk to a friend today? Is the sun shining, is your AC on? You’re breathing, right? It’s that simple.
For me, it’s easy to find gratitude when I focus on the small stuff. The big stuff will come, of course, but I'm more optimistic and excited about the day-to-day mundane things when I take that moment to appreciate them. Sometimes we feel like it has to be this big declaration. It doesn't. I'm so grateful that I have the power cord for my computer today. There is no right or wrong; it just allows us to savor the moment.
Share the love
It helps, once you’re comfortable, to share this practice with a partner, your friends, or your family. It can feel awkward at first, but it helps hold you accountable. I always will say to my boyfriend, "what are you grateful for right now?" It gets us talking and sharing things the other might not think of and expands the universe of gratitude.
If it’s too weird, bring it up in a group. That's something that as I've become more comfortable with myself, especially being a host for That's So Retrograde, we're asking questions about gratitude. No one has ever said, "that's dumb." People receive it with excitement, and I think you’ll find the same thing will happen with your friends. Don’t worry about sounding dorky, just try it.
We all have those triggers in our day when someone will do something that annoys us, or something that can just be frustrating, which we all have, that's part of life. You can't really avoid it, but gratitude takes the weight off of it for me.
Adopt this Ritual for yourself