Everyone from Oprah to Ben Greenfield talks about the importance of gratitude, so with so many successful people talking about its importance to their own success it must be pretty important, right?
But… if you’re anything like me, being open about gratitude and saying, “You know what? I’m really grateful for ____ and ____,” might just feel downright uncomfortable. Let’s be honest – it’s tough to be emotionally open as a guy in our society. (Personally, I impress myself by those who can do it so easily.)
Well screw it – if people think that’s weird, that’s just too bad. Practicing gratitude works, in the sense that it helps you be happier, more fulfilled, and succeed in your goals.
So here goes – below are the exact strategies I use to regularly practice gratitude. I’m not an expert – at all. But these are my personal experiences with gratitude practice, and I wouldn’t be sharing them with you unless I thought you might find them useful as well. 🙂
Here are my 4 strategies for practicing gratitude on a regular basis. The number of things to be grateful for is always 3.
To me, this methods seems to be the most meaningful way of practicing gratitude. Writing something down, as opposed to just thinking it, makes it more real. It’s also very simple. I write “Grateful for”, and then write “1”, “2”, and “3” below it, giving each number 2 lines each to describe 3 things I’m grateful for.
2. Mood Reversal
I do this with my girlfriend a lot – especially if I notice she’s being grumpy. She springs it on me, too, when I’m acting like an asshole. It’s annoying at first, but it forces you to be positive instead of continuing to pout and make yourself (and those around) miserable. To do this, simply turn to a loved one and say, “What are 3 things you’re grateful for?” Answer in a non-sarcastic way, be truthful, and find something that you’re honestly grateful for. Try to speak from the heart. It’s super simple, but a great way to turn your mood around and practice gratitude while doing it.
3. Wake & Thank
This one is so simple, so easy, that it’s hard to make up an excuse not to do it. Before you get out of bed, simply think about 3 things you are grateful for. Try to focus, and don’t let your mind wander. (This kills two birds with one stone – not only do you get the benefit of gratitude, but you get your mind into the habit of focusing early in the day!)
4. Meditation Finisher
At the end of your meditation, finish with three things you are grateful for. Don’t limit yourself in your description of what it is you are grateful for; elaborate on it as much as possible, and only stop when you can’t think of anything more to add. Same as every other method, think of 3 total things.
What are things to be thankful for?
They can be anything, but be specific and don’t repeat things. Practicing gratitude isn’t very powerful if you just repeat the same 3 things every day. (That’s just mindless repetition – not mindful gratitude practice.) You should have to concentrate on it; to elaborate on what specifically it is you are grateful for, and be able to think of new things every time you practice gratitude.
How to start? Just do it. You don’t have to commit to doing it every day. Just start doing in on a more regular basis. Remember that the benefits are gradual. You won’t get your dream life after one gratitude session, but hopefully you start moving toward your dream life as you do it on a regular basis. Once you make it more regular, use the following format to come up with your own consistent gratitude practice:
Figure out a plan that (1) works for you, (2) you come up with yourself, and (3) makes you excited. But seriously – JUST DO IT – don’t overthink it.
My personal gratitude practice: I only practice gratitude through journaling three times per week. I always finish meditation with gratitude (which is usually 5-6 times per week, but I’m not always consistent), but the other 2 methods are sporadic.
3 things I am grateful for today:
- I am grateful for the birth of my niece, Sofie. My sister has been trying to have a baby for a very long time, and I am so happy that she now has a healthy baby girl. I’m told that my name is “Duncle” – though I reject this. My mother, Julie, is “JJ” (what the other J stands for is a mystery). Dad is “Pops”, and my brother, Patrick, is “Puncle”.
- I am grateful for my health; to be able to do the things I want to do, to notice the differences in my body and my movements as a result of the hard work I’ve put into a consistent fitness routine; and the ability to help others by sharing that knowledge and experience.
- I am grateful to know that I am 100% in control of what I choose to pursue, and that if I can believe in myself, I can do it. Every opportunity is open and available to me. The only thing that matters is whether or not I believe in myself to do it. I sincerely hope you understand this as well.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I look forward to an awesome end of the year, and an incredible 2018.
It’s a chance for you to see me putting into action the practices and habits that I’m asking you to do for yourself, to show you that what I’m talking about in my emails, blogs, and on social media is exactly the same stuff that I’m doing on a daily basis in my own life.