Re-energize Your Gratitude Practice with These 5 Solutions

Does your gratitude practice need some spice? I bet it is, otherwise, why else would you be here? Listen, it doesn’t matter how you do gratitude because let’s face it: expressing gratitude gives us endorphins and feel good emotions. But if you’re anything like me, your journal practice might be a little stale.

Now, I’m no stranger to changing things up. In fact, watch me try and stick to a routine and take bets on how long it doesn’t last (I’m really not a creature of habit). Anyway, I digress.

Back to gratitude. I know when I start to think of gratitude, I automatically think about having a steady journal practice, but isn’t this season so much more than that? Isn’t it about taking time to give our hearts, time, and spirit with the people we love?

Being intentional with gratitude is one of my very favorite practices, but even I admit, I need a reminder to practice regularly, especially when I’m in a slump. So, if you’re looking for ways to get creative with how to re-energize your gratitude practice, look no further- you’ve come to the right spot!

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THANK YOUR CHALLENGES. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, suffering exists when you expect reality to be different than your experience (or something to that degree). Like many people, the “Why Me?” syndrome is in full force when experiencing a challenge. Victimization depletes our mental state, while practicing gratitude benefits our optimal happiness and well-being (says literally every article and book in the world on gratitude). So, instead of blaming and demonizing your challenges (because no one has a perfect life, no matter what social media tells you), thank them instead.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How is this situation, person, or difficulty helping me grow?

  • What and who can I learn from?

  • What is this teaching me about myself?

  • How can I support others like me and meet them with experience, strength, and hope?

LISTEN. The holidays are a time when family get togethers are abundant. Whether this brings up a multitude of feelings for you that leave you wanting to run for the hills, or whether you’re dying to catch up with your favorite cousin, I think we can all agree that conversation is inevitable this time of year. One way to show up for others this holiday season is by listening and asking questions. If you haven’t heard this tidbit of information yet, I’ll break it to you: People are inherently selfish. Yup, this includes you. And me. And your 90 year old grandma. It’s human nature and nothing to be ashamed of because, hey! we all do it.

So, what can you do?

  • Ask questions! (taking the focus off of ourselves can actually be quite relieving).

  • Listen without intent to reply

  • Restate the information they gave you (this is active listening).

  • Learn— hey, you should benefit here too, am I right?

  • Listen to yourself. If you’re feeling triggered, angry, upset, etc— you can leave. Heck, even the bathroom is a way out. Be grateful for the awareness and maturity to exit a conversation that isn’t suiting you!

GIVE TECHNOLOGY BOUNDARIES. Wait, how is this practicing gratitude? Well…. we’re re-energizing our practice here, so just go with it! Giving technology (our phones, iPads, TV, etc) boundaries is two-fold here, in my opinion. First and foremost, being intentional with how and when we’re using technology is a form of self-love and self-care.

So, what can you do? Start by trying actionable things first:

  • No scrolling past 7 or when you’re with the kids

  • Put your phone away when you’re in a group

  • Make a list of what you want to accomplish in the day and stick to it (choosing three is best!).

  • Don’t post on social media in real time (don’t worry— if you don’t post, it still happened!).

Giving yourself time and space to be present with people you love (including yourself) without distractions is a GIFT and should be celebrated. Thank these gifts in your life by showing up for them, uninterrupted!

TAKE A TIME OUT. I’m no stranger to holiday burnout. In fact, I usually make it my bitch. BUT, I’m left feeling less than, grumpy, and strained. When this happens the holidays can end up feeling like a chore instead of a time to spread joy and cheer (totally channeling Elf here!). Wanna show others you care? Show up for yourself first. Need a day off to clean the house, go shopping, vent to a therapist, or introvert hard? Do that. Take a day off. Ask for help with the kids. Slow down. And thank yourself for this new awareness. Loving on yourself is NOT a burden to others-- in fact, it teaches others a) how you should be treated, and b) how they can start showing up for themselves. Talk about gratitude in full force!

GIVE IT AWAY. Last but not least, NEVER, I repeat NEVER hold onto gratitude. Give it away— share it… Express to others how much they mean to you, and be specific! Do they make the best cookies when you’re sad? Do they lend a listening ear without judgement? Offer to run errands for you? Maybe they make you laugh so hard you pee a little (wait-- who does that?). Tell ‘em, text ‘em, send ‘em a card. Doesn’t matter how ya do it. I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of expressing gratitude, and here’s what I’ve found: the more you give, the more you have.

AT THE END OF THE DAY…

Listen, there is NO WRONG way to practice gratitude. Refocusing your WHY and diving deep into specifics can only bring you multitudes more joy and peace. Doing all of these might not work for you, or texting every single person in your life may be too much. So don’t do it all. Take it a step at a time and notice the benefits. What feels authentic to you and what doesn’t? What works for you and what doesn’t?

So, what practice do you think you’ll put to use first? I plan on expressing it! Tell me below in the comments, or share with me over on Instagram!

Do you reap the benefits of practicing gratitude already?

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