Make a habit May
Welcome to ‘make a habit May’! For the next four weeks I will be talking about all things habitual about self-reflection. In my personal experience, building the capacity to reflect on my own life was the catalyst for bringing more intentionality into my experience (and is one of my Superhero Habits). I made a habit of self-reflection because I believe it unlocked the doors to my creative potential, as well as raising my self-awareness and bringing more meaning and purpose into my life (which in turn has raised my happiness bar!). The next four articles for May will each address one way to bring more self-reflection into your life 🙂 I do hope you enjoy!
Make a habit of…gratitude!
So the science is in…practicing gratitude makes us happier. It really is that simple! Just acknowledging those things we take for granted e.g. family, friends, health, the environment, education, security, food, shelter etc., increases our level of happiness and contentment. For a moment in time we are able to be thankful for what we currently have without the burden of yearning for more, or wishing we were ‘somewhere else’. Making a habit of gratitude can change the way we perceive the world, and how we react to daily situations. In my experience, making a habit of gratitude was my gateway to more introspective methods of self-reflection and paved the foundations of intentional living.
How to practice gratitude
Perhaps not so simple is actually taking the time each day to just sit down and reflect on the things we are grateful for. Here are my tips for bringing more gratitude into your day:
1. Start a gratitude journal
If you have never used a journal before, I highly recommend you give it a try. I started my first gratitude journal back in 2012 and have been doing it ever since. I simply write down the day and date, and jot down the statement “Today I am grateful for…”. I follow this with a bullet style list of five things I am grateful for that day. The key is to stretch your imagination and try to constantly think of new things to be grateful for. It is a rewarding practice that will have you feeling just that little bit happier at the end.
2. Talk about gratitude
Have a brief conversation with your significant other/parents/friends about what you are both grateful for that day. This is a little more confronting, but I try to do this with my wife once a week. The best bit is that you will both be feeling happier afterwards.
3. Think about gratitude
Whenever you are feeling angry, upset, frustrated etc. try to interrupt the negative emotion and remind yourself of the things you are grateful for in that moment. With regular practice of the first two above, this technique will become easier over time and can really transform your relationship with challenging circumstances.
The Science of Happiness
Check out the video below if you would like to see some more on the positive impacts of gratitude.
This week give yourself the space to practice gratitude with one of the above tips. I guarantee that you will feel just that little bit happier by the end of the week, and you will be learn a new tool for your new self-reflection habit! For more posts on habits, check out these posts here and here 🙂 Have a great week and be your best self!