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World Gratitude Day – September 21, 2021

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How to Develop Your Own Gratitude Ritual

Creating a gratitude ritual can be tough, just as starting any new habit can be difficult to stick with at first. Like most other practices, the more you do it, the easier it will get.

Try these tips to help you cultivate a fulfilling and impactful gratitude ritual:

1) Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take several slow, deep breaths.

2) Think of something good that has happened to you recently.

3) Think of a person or animal you love.

4) Think of an occasion when you were honored or appreciated by others.

5) Think about your present situation and what is going on in your life. (Rodrigues, 2017)

The popular website www.tinybuddha.com also provides several useful suggestions on implementing and sticking to a gratitude ritual.

Their steps are as follows:

  1. Commit to your practice. There will be days when you feel like doing anything other than finding reasons to be grateful, but pushing through these days will empower you and help you build the strength and resilience necessary to push through other challenges.
  2. Begin your practice. Just do it! Sit down with a pen and paper or a computer and start simply, with a prompt like “I am grateful for…” You may need to sit and think for a while, but that’s okay. If you give it time and put in the effort, it will come!
  3. Write it down. Sometimes thinking about what you are grateful for will not be enough. Be sure to write down what you are grateful for. Writing can have a powerful impact that just thinking may not bring about.
  4. Feel it. Allow yourself to fully experience gratitude. Let it come up from your heart and throughout your body. Savor the feeling.
  5. Choose a set time of day. This can be extremely helpful when starting a practice. Some popular times to practice gratitude are first thing in the morning and last thing at night but choose a time that works for you.
  6. Practice present-moment gratitude. While you may be writing these things down at the beginning or end of the day, make sure to notice all of the things for which you are grateful as they pop up throughout your day. Allow yourself to be in the present and to fully appreciate each thing you are grateful for as it arises.
  7. Share the gratitude. Find a gratitude partner to share your list of things you are grateful for with, to discuss your challenges and your successes with, and to motivate you when you are not feeling up to the task (and vice versa).
  8. Don’t stop when you start noticing results! Although counterintuitive, it can be tempting to stop any practice once you start seeing the benefits. Make sure you are committed to your practice, whether it feels beneficial in the current moment or not.
  9. Allow yourself to be human. It’s alright to miss a day once in a while, and it’s alright to feel grumpy about having to follow through on your commitment when it’s the last thing you want to do. We are human, and we will make mistakes. If you’re having trouble coming up with anything, at least write something like “I am grateful I am writing my gratitude list.” (Russell, 2016).

The popular dating website eharmony also provides tips on how to cultivate gratitude, especially in the context of dating and relationships. They suggest four steps:

  1. Simply close your eyes and take a deep and intentional breath, repeating until you feel calm and grounded.
  2. Awakening your awareness. Allow yourself to meditate on your truth in the present moment.
  3. Recognize your blessings. Think about what you are experiencing with your five senses if you have trouble getting started.
  4. Emotions flow. Allow your emotions to come and go, to rise and fall as they will. Focus your attention on enjoying the feeling of gratitude working its way through your mind and to your heart.

Finally, Chris Libby from www.livehappy.com provides four rituals that you can implement to build gratitude in your life.

These rituals are:

  • Amazing Grace. Reflect on what you are grateful for at the dinner table before you begin eating, whether alone or with your family.
  • Focus on the “Haves.” Instead of thinking about what you are missing, think about what you have. Write down at least three things you are grateful for each night.
  • The Write Stuff. Write a letter to someone you are grateful to or for, and read the letter aloud to them if possible. you can find more instructions for this exercise earlier in this piece.
  • Thankful Awareness. Try something new and fulfilling, such as volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen, or handing out toys at a children’s hospital. Witnessing the trials and challenges of others can often be a spur for you to notice the good things in your own life.

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