The Gratitude Habit: How it helps me

The Gratitude Habit: How it helps me

Forming a habit isn’t easy. It takes work. If you’ve ever tried to create and stick to a new routine, you’d know exactly what I mean. That’s why it’s more important than ever to cultivate the gratitude habit: the idea that there are so many things we can and should be grateful for, in our lives.

I’ve been deeply interested in the art of Zen Buddhism for a while now; especially as a writer, after I got my hands on Natalie Goldberg’s ‘Writing Down the Bones’, this increased visibly. It opened up vistas of the writing experience I’d never tapped before. I learnt to fall in love with writing for the sake of it, all over again.

Soon afterwards, I began to wonder about extending this principle to other areas of my life: as a mother, as a person, as someone who should take better care of herself.

[bctt tweet=”5 Ways to Cultivate a regular #Gratitude Habit” username=”shyvish”]

5 Ways to cultivate a gratitude habit

Keep a gratitude log

Yes, I know how trite that sounds and I also know it can be a lot of work! So if you are finding it tough to write something everyday, make it weekly. Heck, make it monthly, if that works. Take some time and write down everything good that happened to you in the month gone by. You’d be thrilled to discover exactly how many things made you grateful in 30 days.

For instance, in August, I got a verified profile on Google Plus, completed 10 years as a blogger, finally cracked the idea of a fitness routine, got a very interesting insight into learning and creativity (which I will share in my next post), took a work trip out of town, watched my daughter learn from her mistakes and gladly so, and these are just some of them! Try it everyday for a week? Notice the difference in your outlook.

Enjoy the work you do; do the work you enjoy

I know many people who are stuck in dead-end jobs. Either the work doesn’t excite them or the work culture doesn’t work for them. As a result, they work their way into sadness, anger, bitterness and frustration.

Trust me, it isn’t worth it. Find a job that you love doing. The key to knowing if you love it is this: it should make you glad to welcome the prospect each day. In addition, find a job that allows you to pursue a hobby. Be it blogging or singing or reading or training for a marathon, pick a hobby you enjoy. Make time for it in your work day/week. Notice the difference it makes to your gratitude metre.

Reduce complaining

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, even if it’s something you enjoy doing. As women, our chores, our routines, our day-to-day demands can eat into our peace of mind. It then becomes almost natural to complain about our situation.

I’m not exempt from this. In fact, very recently, V resorted to calling me ‘Crib-a-shankari’. Yeah, not fun! But it’s true! When I examined the number of times I was complaining, either about the weather or how Gy doesn’t study enough or how the plates weren’t put back in their places, I was adding to the stress levels in the house. And the worst part about complaining? It solves nothing! In fact, it adds to the stress of the unfinished work and makes you more miserable.

So, lesson learnt: Reduce complaining. Give thanks for the things that work well and fix the ones that don’t.

Keep learning

This is one of the best things I discovered on my gratitude journey. I found out that I am a learner. The passion to learn something new, even in a familiar domain, excites me no end. For instance, with blogging, I started dabbling in Pinterest very recently, about 3 months ago. From knowing practically nothing about it, to getting 100 pins on one of my recent posts, I was ecstatic!

Being open to learning leaves your heart open to gratitude. You become receptive to ideas, feedback, criticism and of course, tons of benefits when it comes to a happier you.

Celebrate the little things

This one works, I can assure you! You know those fitness updates I post on Instagram or Facebook? I make a big deal out of them. I make a song and dance out of the fact that I walked every day. I praise the decor in my boss’ home with the joy of a puppy seeing a new tennis ball. I throw my hands in the air and do fist bumps when my daughter comes home with her lunch boxes wiped clean on a school day. I wake up rested, happy and ready to greet the day when I turn off my phone and get over 6 hours of sleep.

Little things, each of them, but they add up. Bonus? It makes other people happy. Granted, it may drive a few people nuts- the excessive joy- but at the moment, I am glad to be alive. I don’t want to lose a day in regret, sadness or self-pity.

Life is too short to be spent worrying. Make the days count.

Be grateful.

How are you making time for gratitude? Do you keep a weekly/daily/monthly journal? Do share.

Linking up with Vidya Sury’s gratitude circle


*Featured imagesΒ courtesy: Shutterstock

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24 thoughts on “The Gratitude Habit: How it helps me

  1. I thank God every night for everything He has given me…and in brackets I also add that I am.grateful even for all the not so good times I faced in life…Yeah, that’s how I talk to Him…with brackets and quotation marks and all.
    Each time I think about the problems others face, I pray for them but at the same time I thank God for the life I live, for every little and big thing and that makes me feel good.
    Its really an everyday thing, being grateful for all that you have. It changes your perspective about all the things that are not going as per your wish.

  2. I write gratitude posts every month that help me focus on only the positives, no matter how small. I feel that it makes a real difference to my life. Also, when I find myself feeling dejected, I try hard to focus on the positive though not always possible. There is a lot that I don’t share on social media or blog and I am happy doing that. Celebrating little things is definitely nice but not necessarily with the world. Again, different people have different methods.

    I was pondering about the work bit, and I felt that while it is true that one must do the job that one enjoys, it is neither practical nor always possible. I see that most of us (especially women) can pursue our hearts because we have a partner who is earning much more and keeping the family running. I have had this conversation with a number of men, and it makes my heart heavy to see how much they take on.

    Gratitude is definitely worth practicing. And I guess each of us figures out the best way to practice it.
    Rachna recently posted #Gratitude This AugustMy Profile

    1. Yes, I know you do write a post every month. It’s commendable.

      When I referred to celebrating the little things, social media updates was just an example. It doesn’t mean you have to share it with the world. You can celebrate the little things even offline.

      As for the job, I know it’s not possible always. But the longer we stay in dead end jobs, the harder it is for us to stay happy or feel gratitude. Catch 22 situation. I mean, I agree with you but I hope everyone tries to find their peace and happiness in a job that does the trick. Agree that different things work for different people.

  3. Making the moments count should be the mantra for our life; one that I am trying to practice too! Its very easy to crib and make a hullabullo over anything and everything but you are right it doesnt sort out anything.
    I love your posts and the child like joy you take in celebrating the moments, make me very happy too! I look forward to them and heres wishing you many many happy moments in life for now and ever!
    SHALINI BAISIWALA recently posted Greened to Perfection – Creative Gardening at its best [ Home Decor ]My Profile

  4. Celebrating little moments, that works for me! Like all emotions, happiness and gratitude are contagious too. Which is why I am gently weeding out the naysayers, constant complainers and whiners out of my life:)
    I am so inspired by your Walking updates on Insta that I am planning to start soon. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Oh I SO hear you on the weeding out, Mayuri! So much happier when we surround ourselves with the ones who are positive and cheerful. And yay on the walking! You message on Insta today made my day.

  5. As a person, little things make me happy. Much more than big ones. Folks at work tell me, I cann celebrate anything. I won’t agree to that but yes, the attitude keeps me stress-free.
    I pen a gratitude list every month and I love to recap and go back to count my blessings. It’s a lovely thing. Congrats on your 100 pins. It’s a big one for sure.
    Parul Thakur recently posted Onam Pookalams 2017My Profile

    1. I know this about you πŸ™‚ You’re like a spark of joy and your posts as well as your personality are a testament to that! Thanks, Parul πŸ™‚ Small steps on the Pinterest stage.

  6. Shailaja, crib-a-shankari πŸ™‚ Love how you make it all sound so easy. Loving what you do makes your work easier and more enjoyable, true that. My friends and family tease me about my enthusiasm for little things in life and how I celebrate them with so much joy. Glad to know you do the same πŸ™‚ Lovely post on gratitude.

    1. I know it sounds easy, no? But it isn’t. It takes effort, as I am sure you know πŸ™‚ I love life, Sulekha. I’ve lived for a while in the shadow of sadness so I know it’s important to stay happy. Always. Thank you for your kind words.

  7. This post just sang to my heart, hitting all the most melodious ones, Shailaja. I do every one of these things, except I am a bit shy about sharing things on social media. I am excited for all your wins this past month–what a wonderful feeling! I am sure one of the biggest joys is to watch your daughter grow, learn and shine. (All the best for her exams).

    Of all the things I enjoy–and that’s almost everything I do–my favorite is adding to my happiness jar and writing in my journal. I am passionate about my gratitude journal–it is always uplifting to flip the pages whenever I feel a little low.

    I am thrilled you joined me this month in the Gratitude Circle. Thank you! Hugs! And super-kudos to you on your fitness regime!
    Vidya Sury recently posted At Menri Monastery, Dolanji, Solan, Himachal PradeshMy Profile

    1. Aww, thank you Vidya. It’s people like you who motivate me to keep going. Your gratitude jar, way back in 2014 is what inspired me to make gratitude a habit. So I’m very grateful to you as always πŸ™‚

  8. Celebrating the little things helps me a lot. I try to incorporate the Gratitude Habit but some days I forget completely. Still, it helps to stop sometimes and just count my blessings, some positive reaffirmations to help me go on. Gratitude has helped me see the positive side of where I work and what I work on in spite of the many things there which make me upset regularly. So, that’s a blessing.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted Practicing GratitudeMy Profile

  9. Maintaining a gratitude journal is something I’ve always wanted to do, but for reasons I don’t completely understand myself, I have procrastinated it every single time.

    I think doing a monthly post will ensure that I note down stuff on a daily/weekly basis? Is that what you do? Do you write in your journal on a daily/weekly basis, and then compile it for a monthly post?
    Shantala recently posted Catch-Up Over Coffee #3 | #ChattyBlogs September LinkyMy Profile

    1. Yes. I have a planner and I make a note of all the little things there weekly. Plus I check my Instagram or FB feed for the past month and see the things I’m grateful for. A visual reminder always helps.

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