You’ve likely heard all about gratitude and it’s gorgeous benefits.
Perhaps you’ve tried out a couple of practices and tools to help you feel more gratitude in your life, but it doesn’t seem to stick.
Or maybe this is your first port of call for your curiosity around gratitude.
Either way, the purpose of this post is to dive into gratitude slightly, and then offer 12 tools and practices for you to play with that can help allowing a more consistent attitude of gratitude to seep into your daily life.
You might really resonate with some of the tools, and others you may not.
These are here for you to have a play and figure out which ones help you in living your days with a deeper more consistent sense of gratitude.
This is your invitation to experiment with what makes you feel and to allow this experimentation to come from your heart.
Free 5 minute Morning Heart Practice to help you connect to your heart & gratitude
What Is Gratitude?
You may already know but just in case you don’t, gratitude is an experience or emotion that generates feelings or thoughts of love, thankfulness, warmth and kindness.
It’s felt through an experience of something good happening to you, which is then associated with someone (or something) that made this experience possible for you; this is when thankfulness and appreciation begin to surface and you experience a sense of gratitude.
It expresses itself in so many forms.
You might feel warm physical sensations throughout your body.
Or loving thankful thoughts in your mind.
Whatever it looks like for you, when you do experience deep heartfelt gratitude, you’ll very likely be dropped into a state of presence that consists of nothing but pure contentment.
Tools For Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
1. MORNING HEART PRACTICE
Heart practice text & download
2. GRATITUDE JOURNAL
This is probably the one you’ve heard the most.
Keeping a gratitude journal can be a good way to keep some consistency.
This is simply taking a moment out of your day to sink into your heart, and write down whatever comes up from this space that you feel grateful for.
It can be really obvious things, or really subtle less obvious, personal things.
Whatever it is, truly & deeply feel what it is you’re writing in there.
Any practice or expression of gratitude is amazing, but try not to just have and write in one just because you’ve heard about it’s positive benefits.
The great thing about this exercise is how effortlessly it can become part of your day, but likewise, there should be a considerable amount of effort coming from your heart if you’re to feel the true magic of having a gratitude journal.
You can do this spontaneously, or carve out a certain amount of time each day to do this – 5 minutes or 30 minutes.
Choose what feels right for you and allows you to feel into your heart.
You could get yourself a beautiful little notepad that brings you joy to write in.
Or you can use plain printer paper.
Again, just play and make note of what connects you most deeply with your heart and lets you sink into gratitude.
I would suggest writing rather than typing. It’s actually really nice to imagine your arms being an extension of your heart when you write to really put this loving energy onto the paper.
To avoid this becoming mechanical, I recommend combining this method with another from the list so there’s more intention going into the journal.
Also having the intention of being as specific and detailed as possible can help open your eyes and heart to the subtler things in life that can help you feel more alive and cultivate a greater attitude of gratitude.
3. YOGA NIDRA
YN text and download
4. CONNECT TO YOUR SENSES
Cultivating the stillness and presence that allows you to really feel into the different experiences of your senses can help you take in the magnitude of what it actually means to be alive.
It’s our senses that allow us to experience existing on this huge rock as a human being.
Take that in and feel appreciation and gratitude flow through your heart as you do so.
Take the time to consciously soak in the miracles within and around you through all your senses.
Whether that’s through tasting your food, going out in nature and taking in the sights or smells or even trying to do this in social situations if possible.
It could be good for you to focus on one sense at a time and allow it to consume your attention so you can really sink into it.
Just becoming more aware of what your senses are perceiving, and let it take you on a journey of gratitude for being alive.
5. SHARE YOUR GRATITUDE
There are so many ways you can share & express your gratitude, but here I am talking about making a conscious effort to let others know how grateful and thankful you are.
Your gratitude may not always involve others, but when it does, let them know.
Give someone a quick spontaneous phone call or message.
Whatever it is, share your love and any details of the reason why you’re feeling grateful.
This will not only strengthen your relationships, but will also deepen the feeling of gratitude in your heart and create a warmth in someone else’s.
6. GRATITUDE PLAYLIST
You can choose to listen to this Gratitude Playlist I created, or you can listen to any music of your choice that you know touches your heart with feelings of love and thankfulness.
Have it playing in the background, but try at least a couple of times to just listen whilst doing nothing else.
Just soak up all the beautiful vibrations of the songs and allow them to fully vibrate in your heart.
7. GUIDED MEDITATIONS
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a gratitude specific meditation.
It can simply be one that guides you to connect to your heart or those same uplifting sensations & emotions to that of gratitude.
If you’re quite an advanced meditator, you don’t have to choose guided.
Feel free to guide yourself to this space where gratitude lives.
But if you haven’t got too much of a gratitude practice, I’d recommend choosing to be guided.
Do this as regularly as feels good for you, but if you’re starting from zero, I suggest starting with once or twice a week and work on building it up.
At the beginning, it may seem like this meditation practice is just for those 10 or 20 minutes you spend with your eyes closed, but you’ll soon begin to feel the benefits and attitude of gratitude seeping into your life.
8. USE PROMPTS / REMINDERS
A daily gratitude practice can often fall off, and one reason for that is forgetting or just a lack of mindfulness towards it.
So having some visual prompts that can remind you to step into feelings or thoughts of gratitude can be so helpful in helping you acquire an attitude of gratitude in your everyday life.
These reminders can be things like sticky notes around your home or phone screensavers.
You could even use mealtimes as a reminder.
You can either use this as an opportunity to say a little gratitude prayer for the food you’re about to eat and to everyone & everything involved in the process of getting it onto your plate, or simply use this as a prompt to send gratitude into your heart for whatever comes up in that moment.
Sitting down to eat a meal is something many of us are lucky enough to do every single day, and so putting some extra awareness into this blessed moment that so many of us take for granted is a great opportunity to truly feel just how lucky and fortunate we are – for the food or anything else our heart calls to in that moment.
9. TOUCH YOUR CHEST
This is one of my personal favourites because it’s so simple yet so powerful in helping me feel gratitude in my heart space.
I like to do this as one of the first things I do when I open my eyes in the morning.
Although many of these other practices are wonderful, if you’re more of a tactile person like myself, having a physical experience through touch may allow you to feel into your experience much more deeply.
All this method involves is placing your hands on the centre of your chest – your spiritual heart – and breathing into this space.
Then you can either simply feel the profound sense of love radiate inside your chest, or you can choose to also bring something you’re grateful for into the practice too.
Remember, everyone is different, so this may not be your go to, but I’d definitely recommend giving this a good try at least a couple of times before writing it off. And really allow yourself to fully drop into this from your heart – even if just for one minute.
You don’t have to do it first thing in the morning, but I find this to be such a beautiful way of starting your day and setting the tone for how you’d like it to continue.
Self-inquiry is the practice of inquiring about your true self.
The Self before the name, the gender, the house or the job.
This can be done in a number of different ways including certain books, writing or meditating.
If you’re quite new to this practice, I created this meditation that focuses specifically on self-inquiry.
Start here if you feel curious about this very profound practice and see where it takes you.
This level of inquiry can lead to an awareness and gratitude of your existence that is beyond the mind.
10. FIND GRATITUDE IN DIFFICULT EXPERIENCES
This is probably the one that most profoundly shifted my life and entire perspective on gratitude.
It can be really tough to journey through, but the peace that’s available when meeting the pain of a situation deep inside the heart with gratitude is one of the biggest most powerful transformations I’ve ever been through.
I’ve experimented with psychedelics, attended silent meditation courses, but the growth and liberation I’ve experienced through consciously connecting to the vibration of gratitude inside my heart during times of pain has created a new variant of liberation.
This isn’t me for a second saying avoid any other emotions you’re feeling and turn only to gratitude…
…if you feel anger, feel and process that anger too.
If you’re feeling sadness, anxiety, frustration.. feel it all so you can process and work with it.
This is simply just an invitation to sit with whatever potentially tough feelings and see if you can welcome any teeny ounce of gratitude into your difficult experience.
Gratitude for any insights or lessons this situation or person may have brought into your life underneath the hurt.
Even if this is only possible 2% of the time, observe how that 2% of gratitude affects your experience.
And with practice, this will likely become easier as you begin meeting those tougher experiences with more peace with your effortless attitude of gratitude.