Autumn is full of celebrations for gratitude across multiple cultures. It’s been a hard couple of years for the entire world. Sometimes it can be difficult to feel gratitude when you or those around you, whether you know them or not, have suffered a loss.
But gratitude is a choice. We can choose to be grateful and happy. And just like our other choices, it takes work.
It takes work and consistency to turn this choice into a habit. When it becomes a habit, it simply becomes part of you, an effortless, natural practice.
Gratitude has a lot of benefits. It makes you happy, and being happy is just good for the brain and heart and all your bodily systems. You sleep easier and better, so you work better, you’re kinder, and these make you feel good about yourself. It’s a cycle of happiness begetting happiness.
Here are our Little Everyday Things’ everyday tips for gratitude and happiness.
When you wake up, appreciate what you sense.
Sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste: everything you see and hear is already a blessing in itself.
Getting up from bed without help? Awesome. Waking up without an alarm? Wow. Immediately turned on your morning playlist of tunes? Marvelous.
When you stop to think about it, your body is an incredible machine with independent synapses that help you live your daily life. Your senses enrich your life.
Display reminders for gratitude.
Picture frames suddenly mean a whole lot more, doesn’t it? Sometimes we simply forget to be grateful because we don’t have reminders of what or whom we should be grateful for.
Add visual reminders you can see: photos of people and pets, and slogans and mottos. The most powerful trigger of thoughts of gratitude is usually people.
Step back and just put distance.
Working from home and online classes can sometimes add up to a lot of stress and boiling tempers at home. Plonk your phone into your magnetic car mount or universal windshield phone mount and just drive off somewhere nice and quiet.
Or ride and pump your legs to get rid of stress with exercise. Use this 100% waterproof bike mount to help you with your route and record your kilometers.
This tip is about going to your happy place, literally. Let your thoughts scream but then look around you and let your surroundings calm you and give you a new perspective.
Savor the good stuff.
This gives an entirely new meaning to “treat yourself.” When you do treat yourself, savor it. Appreciate how hot the bathwater is, how good your bath bubbles smell. Or maybe completely immerse yourself in your favorite music with headphones that cancel out all noise.
If you like pastries, how flaky is that crust, or how creamy is that custard?
When you watch your favorite shows, smile fondly at how good they look-- maybe even appreciate your laptop or TV for delivering crisp images!
Savor things. Too often, we just rush through everything or always multitask, eating while working, cleaning while listening to music, and we don’t get to appreciate things that are otherwise amazing.
Make your things pretty and neat.
It doesn’t take much to make yourself happy with little things. And sometimes it starts with less clutter. Seriously. Who knew, right? Marie Kondo was on to something. When you have neat and tidy spaces at home, you can focus on joy instead of being distracted or crowded.
Get rid of the junk and don’t acquire more junk. Make sure what you do get is functional.
Cute items can even help you destress in a second. This vintage watercolor leaves case and this dried flowers case invoke the beauty of nature and give you a sense of calm. And they protect your phone! That’s functional.
Look at your kitchen. Maybe it’s time to replace that dingy kettle with a new one in a bright enamel color. What about your living room and bedroom? What junk have you accumulated that you no longer use and can be donated or recycled already?
When you have a more open space, you have more clarity to see what remains as gifts. You don’t take them for granted - you appreciate them all the more. For one thing, they’re no longer buried amongst other junk!
Remember the bad, record the good.
There IS some good in remembering how tough it had been for you before. When you look back, you get insight into how far you’ve truly come, and it gives you room for gratitude for where you are now.
And then give yourself more and more seeds of gratitude by recording the good. Did someone give you a gift? Did you get a birthday surprise? Did a dog greet you while you’re out on a walk? Take photos and videos! Make the most of your phone camera! Use it to capture moments you can be grateful for.
You can use your Notes app as a diary of sorts and add these photos and clips there.
When you feel down and out, just look back or look at your notes!
These are our everyday tips, things you can do everyday or start today, right now, so you can be on your way to a mindset of gratitude.