How to Make Gratitude a Lifestyle

This single mom's daily gratitude routine helped her to be grateful in all things.

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- Posted on Jan 22, 2016

How to Make Gratitude a Lifestyle

Three years ago, feeling gratitude seemed impossible to me. I’d just found the strength to leave a physically and emotionally abusive marriage while pregnant with my first child, and life as I knew it was falling apart. Then, I received the sweetest gift.

While at work, a package came for me from one of my vendors—a green journal with the word “Gratitude” written across the front. “What could I possibly be grateful for right now?” I thought. Then, I turned to the big “G” in the sky for answers: Google.

I scrolled through gratitude articles that told me why I should be more grateful, but nothing really resonated with me on how I could get there. So I prayed about it and that prayer led me to my daily gratitude routine I’m sharing below. 

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Overtime, gratitude has become a deeply-rooted habit, entrenched in the fabric of my daily life. Here are the four ways I make gratitude a lifestyle:

1) Write in a Gratitude Journal.

Every morning since receiving the gratitude journal, I wake up, grab my journal, and jot down something good. Even on impossibly sad days, or incredibly long days as a single, working mother, I find something to write about that I am grateful for, whether it was a neighbor who gave me a delicious cake recipe or the woman on the street that saved me from losing a glove. On particularly hard days, I make an effort to write in my journal more than once, just to remind myself of the good that exists in the world.

2) Be Present.

Once I shift into a mindset of recognizing the goodness all around me by writing in my journal, I begin to focus not on the pain of the past or the anxiety of the future, but the joy of the present. I take a moment to remind myself that time is a precious commodity and right now, I have another day to decide how to use mine. I inhale and exhale deeply and appreciate that I have breath in my body, that I’m alive, that I’m here, right now, in this moment.  

3) Rethink Obstacles.

Obstacles can arise at any time throughout the day—personal relationships, co-workers, health issues or financial problems. But ever since my pregnancy and divorce, I make a conscious effort to understand how my obstacle is building my perseverance and growing me as a person. I’ve learned that obstacles can not only make me stronger, but also help me get to know myself on a deeper level and lead me closer to my purpose. With practice, I've learned to see obstacles as opportunities to grow. 

4) Remember to be wowed.

After “mamma,” my daughter's next word was "wow!" I spend a lot of time looking at the world through her eyes—new and fresh and certainly appreciative of little wonders. One afternoon, I was rushing into the house, carrying her, when she started kicking her legs, wanting me to stop—she saw a squirrel on the tree and wanted to sit and watch it eat a nut. So, I stopped and we sat there and watched. I couldn’t help but notice the delicate green leaves on the tree branches, how delightfully the squirrel was eating and how great it was to pause and enjoy that with my daughter. What a reminder that I'm surrounded by beauty. Now, I pay attention to the beautiful river I pass on my way to work and the small joys of being a mom. Through my daughter, God shows me that even my mundane mommy routines can be wondrous.
Some days are harder than others and some obstacles seem so impossible to overcome, but with gratitude and faith, all things are possible. And every day is a new chance to be grateful.

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