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.

5 Ways to Cultivate a regular #Gratitude Habit Click to Tweet

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