How Practicing Gratitude Changed My Life

November 07, 2017

"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life" - Sarah Ban Breathnach
A couple of days ago, I shared a few thoughts on gratitude and how implementing a daily gratitude practice has changed my life. Since then, I've gotten a significant amount of questions regarding what a gratitude practice is and what I mean when I talk about my "gratitude walk." So, I thought I would share how I personally practice gratitude, and how it has changed my life for the better.

About 7 years ago, a church leader of mine taught of the importance of gratitude and gave each member of the class a journal. In it, we were to write one thing we were thankful for at the end of each day. That concept of physically expressing gratitude on a daily basis really stuck with me, and I continued to write in my gratitude journal without missing a single day for 5 years. As time went on, my way of practicing gratitude evolved, and now as a mom, I practice gratitude on my daily walks with my son.

Every morning we spend the first part of our walk listening to podcasts or scriptures, and for the last 10 minutes of the walk, I either turn on quiet music or turn off everything, then I begin saying (in my mind or sometimes out loud) what I'm thankful for until I walk in the door of my home. If you've followed along on my Instagram stories for a while, you might have already caught a glimpse of what this looks like, and the term "gratitude walk" simply came from my dear friend Amy, who began referring to it as such a while back!

This way of implementing a focus of gratitude has been absolutely life changing for me. To dedicate time each day for expressing what I am thankful for -- no matter how simple -- has helped me to feel calmer, more at peace, and more thankful than ever. I no longer feel the constant nag of comparison looming in my mind, and I'm able to live more fully in the present moment.

Practicing gratitude doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to be extravagant. When you simply look around and strive to appreciate things such as the trees that provide shade, the sun that gives light, or the feet that carry you, your life will change - and really, you as a person will change as well.

When implemented daily, practicing gratitude can become as effortless as the breaths that escape your chest -- but it's called a gratitude practice for a reason. Being thankful despite life's unfavorable circumstances can sometimes be difficult, but it's always attainable, and always worth the effort.

With November being the month dedicated to giving thanks, I especially want you to know how thankful I am for each of you taking the time to read the thoughts I share and for the support you provide. This gratitude practice of mine holds a huge piece of my heart and I dearly hope that you will take on the challenge of implementing a daily gratitude practice  as well - not just during the holiday season, but throughout your entire life. Gratitude extends beyond one month of the year, and no matter how silly you may feel at first for saying you're thankful for things like paved roads and caffeine, I promise it'll better your life in more ways than you may now realize. 

I believe that now more than ever, the world needs light. The world needs more gratitude. And the more that people like you and me can center our lives on being thankful for what we have and just thankful for life in general, well, maybe just a little bit of this world can change for the better. 

I'm thankful for this life, no matter how hectic and scary and difficult it can be at times. And whatever your day may look like, know that there is something to be thankful for. Seek after the joy that comes from practicing gratitude - I promise you won't regret it for a second.


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