With the nonstop pace that most of us operate at, finding time to pause, reflect, and cultivate gratitude can be a challenge. The world is full of noise, distractions, and the alluring promise of fulfillment.
Culture tempts us to pursue bigger and better. We’re never quite satisfied, so we busy ourselves with the race to find more. It’s a never-ending chase that leaves us tired and empty rather than hopeful and fulfilled. But what if there is a better way?
I’m going to be honest with you, I often find myself drawn toward what I lack. I’m easily consumed by all that I should be doing. The places I should be going. With the never-ending-to-do list, many times gratitude is the last thing on my mind.
Derived from the Latin word gratia, gratitude is a simple concept that means gratefulness or thankfulness. I point this out because I tend to overcomplicate things.
Gratitude, however, is quite simple. It’s also an extremely powerful tool that can transform our spiritual well-being, attitude, and overall mental health. Due to its simplicity, the practice is often overlooked.
But what if this simple habit could radically transform every aspect of our lives? What if we could be truly grateful for the everyday moments? If you’re intrigued, then I’m glad you’re here.
Together we’ll explore the deep impact of gratitude along with simple ways to be thankful each day.
1. Know the Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude has many benefits, but let’s highlight just a few. Gratitude goes beyond an appreciation for life and the many blessings we have. It’s deeper than that. Gratitude has the power to heal us from the inside out.
Much research has been done on this topic and the findings are astonishing! By consistently practicing gratitude, we have the ability to change our brains. By simply being thankful, we can reduce symptoms of depression, alleviate anxiety, and relieve stress.
Gratitude has also been shown to improve relationships, increase resilience, and improve overall health and well-being. These are just a few of the ways a regular gratitude practice can impact our lives.
You may be wondering why gratitude is so powerful. It’s partly because of how incredibly powerful the mind is. Our minds shape our reality. What we focus on is what we tend to gravitate toward.
If our thoughts are constantly in loops of complaining, comparing ourselves, or frustrated with where we are and what we have then we will likely find ourselves feeling miserable and unhappy.
The opposite is true as well. When we focus on positive things, over time, we begin to feel healthier and happier. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut right now, don’t worry — you’re not alone, and gratitude is the antidote.
While research doesn’t specifically state the frequency or duration of gratitude practices, even small moments of gratitude are believed to be extremely impactful. It sounds too good to be true, right?
While extended and in-depth gratitude practices are beneficial, it’s the consistency of these practices, even in brief moments, that makes a difference.
So, let’s take a deep breath and give ourselves permission to lower the expectations of what practicing gratitude daily should look like.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, or very in-depth. It can actually be quite simple. As simple as a small moment.
2. Remember Gratitude in the Mundane
Now that we better understand the remarkable benefits of gratitude, let’s explore why it’s essential to practice gratitude in the ordinary moments of our lives.
You may find yourself wondering how to find things to be thankful for when every day seems less than spectacular.
Perhaps the majority of your days look very similar, each one a repeat of the last. If so, you’re not alone. Many of us relate to feeling like our days are routine, boring, and insignificant. So, how can we find things to be thankful for in the mundane?
Here’s the really cool thing about gratitude: it doesn’t require life-changing events or grand mountaintop moments in order to be effective.
It has the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary. And it invites us to look around and notice the blessings tucked into these everyday moments.
Consider the simple pleasures that surround you each day. The sunrise painting the sky, the breath that fills your lungs, the cool air against your skin, or the comforting warmth a cup of coffee brings.
These aren’t life-changing events, aside from the breath that sustains you. However, they are extraordinary moments that fill life’s journey.
Gratitude empowers us to appreciate the present, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. It allows us to fully live in the current season of life, the circumstances we find ourselves in, and the mundane moments that often go unnoticed.
Gratitude ushers us into the here and now, reminding us that every moment is full of purpose and meaning. Small moments. Big moments. All of the in-between moments. God is in every one of them. That alone is something to be thankful for.
3. Seek True Fulfillment
We often think that fulfillment will be found when we arrive at some far-off destination. Yet, for many of us, it’s unclear where we’re going.
We’re so caught up in the race to earn more, achieve more, and prove ourselves to be more that we rarely stop to think about where the chase is leading us.
We believe that reaching the next milestone in the next season will finally bring us fulfillment, but it doesn’t.
The truth is that true fulfillment is found in the present moment as we walk with God every step of the way. I know it’s a cliche, but I’ve found this to be true in my own life and maybe you have too. It really isn’t about the end destination; it’s about the journey.
Fulfillment is rooted in our ability to appreciate the ordinary moments that fill the days of our lives. It’s in these moments of pause and intentionality that we notice beauty unfolding all around us.
We don’t have to wait for the circumstances to change before deciding to embrace true fulfillment. It’s available to us here and now just waiting to be discovered.
4. Make it a Daily Practice
Gratitude isn’t meant to be a one-and-done thing. Consistency is key when it comes to experiencing the positive results that follow a regular practice of gratitude. The Bible reminds us of the importance of this continuous habit.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” This verse reminds us that regardless of what we’re facing, there is always something to be thankful for.
The word “always” here speaks to the importance of consistently practicing gratitude. In order for us to be consistent with this habit, we’ll need to create simple rhythms that fit into our everyday lives.
So, how can we make gratitude a daily practice? To increase your chances for success, attach this new habit to something you’re already doing each day.
You can set a reminder alarm on your phone to help develop this new habit or even change the wallpaper background on your phone to keep this new habit at the forefront of your mind.
Remember, this can and should be simple. We don’t have to overcomplicate it or have impossible standards for how it should look. Here are three simple ways to make gratitude a daily practice:
- Morning practice: Begin your day with a moment of reflection. Yes, it’s that simple! Before you get out of bed, think about one thing you’re grateful for.
- Coffee and thanksgiving: Another way to jumpstart your day with gratitude is to reflect for a moment as you drink your morning cup of coffee or hot tea.
- Nightly reflection: Before going to bed, reflect on your day and identify one thing you’re thankful for. This allows you to end the day on a positive note.
However, you choose to incorporate gratitude, remember that even a brief pause has a significant impact. By anchoring gratitude to your daily routine, you’ll find that it becomes a natural part of your daily life.
Embracing gratitude as a daily practice allows us to discover that the ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary. Every moment is a gift, and with a grateful heart, you can savor the beauty and wonder of each day.
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Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/natasaadzic
Cason Schulze is passionate about helping women overcome overwhelm through simple daily rhythms. Wife to her high school sweetheart and homeschooling mom of three, she loves spending time with family and soaking up the sunshine! Cason openly shares her own mental health journey and process of overcoming overwhelm through her podcast, Her Pursuit. She has dedicated her life to empowering and equipping moms with the tools, resources, and encouragement needed to cultivate simple daily rhythms and find peace in the everyday. Cason believes when we partner with God, we reflect His image as we bring chaos into order. Check out here for more or connect on Instagram @heyitscason.
LISTEN: A Prayer for Thanksgiving
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.