Practicing the Art of Being Grateful

Happy Friday, all! Today's post is going to get real: I'm talking about being grateful.

If I'm being totally honest, I've never heard anyone ever describe me as incredibly grateful.

When I was growing up, I always had everything I needed, and so much more. I was an only child to two parents who loved me, supported me, and gave me anything I could ever dream of wanting (without completely overdoing it). I had a great education, great friends, and was always told I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up.

Recently, I've started to think more about turning 25 (a month from today!) and one word has come to mind over and over again: grateful. It's a nice feeling to experience, but I've also found myself wondering why I never really felt this way at any other point in my life, when I've always had SO much to be grateful for.

The other day in the shower, it hit me: being grateful is something I've started to practice, it doesn't always come naturally. As I've gotten older, I've learned that I have to take time to appreciate even the smallest of things — because over time, those small things become big things.

Here are a few of my (recently learned) tips for practicing gratefulness on a daily basis:

  1. Force yourself to slow down. This is something I have never done before — I am ALWAYS a go-go-go type of person. But even on my busiest days, I've started forcing myself to take a walk around the block during a busy work day, take a deep breath and find ways to relax — in fact, it's often my business days where I need it the most, even if I don't have time for it.
  2. Look around once in a while. I'm guilty of being the girl who's always on my phone. On the bus, while I'm walking, if I have a free second throughout my day at work. Lately, I've stopped to actually LOOK UP (I know, groundbreaking). The other day a little girl was smiling at me on the bus, and it brightened my morning. As we head into spring, I've noticed how nice it feels when I walk out of the office and can still see the sun shining down on me.
  3. Start journaling. I recently got the 52 Lists for Happiness Journal, and I fill it out every Sunday night. It's made up of 52 lists for you to reflect on to understand what makes you happy and why you should be grateful. It's changed my outlook on life in just a few weeks, and I actually look forward to Sunday nights now knowing I get to fill out a new list and reflect on what makes my life so great.
  4. Do things that make you happy! Life is full of SO much routine. It's actually insane how many things we all do just because we have to. But how often do you do things just because you want to? Sometimes, I love listening to crazy music (disco hits are my new favorite) and dancing in my kitchen with Josh. Or talking a walk just to walk, not to get somewhere. Or lighting a candle and putting a face mask on. Sometimes, I just like sitting in silence and staring out my windows at the view. Doing these little things for no other reason than to make yourself happy sounds simple, but it's hard in practice — you have to take time for it.

Learning how to slow down and be grateful for what you have isn't always easy, and for me, it didn't come naturally. But I genuinely believe that putting some effort into it will make you a happier person, and I'm happy I can finally describe myself as "grateful"!