One of my greatest inspirations is Dr Brene Brown. She said “There is no joy without gratitude.” Wow! We can’t experience joy unless we are grateful.
In 2014 I decided to take on the challenge of practising gratitude every single day. I have a gratitude board in my home and each day I write something on it that I am grateful for. Every month I take a photo of it before wiping it clean ready for the next month. As I’m reflecting on the month that was I notice that I am grateful for, sometimes very similar things, people or aspects of life and other times I am grateful for something that is quite outside the box.
This challenge has stretched me to think about my day and put into words a lesson I’ve learned, a revelation I’ve had or some of the simple things in life that are easy to take for granted.
I was inspired to do this when I was doing Brene’s eCourse at the end of last year. Some people practice this by keeping a gratitude journal, others write notes about what they’re grateful for and pop them in a jar; I wonder what creative way you could practise gratitude? The biggest thing I learned from Brene is that being grateful is a practise. It has to be practised over and over again. It’s not something we can do just once and then we’re done, it’s something that needs to be done every single day – kind of like forming a habit for life.
Practising gratitude helps to keep perspective in our life. I remember one of Brene’s friends sharing that even when she was in the midst of a messy divorce she could still find something to be grateful for. It was this practise of gratitude that helped her to go moment to moment, day to day.
All of Brene’s work and comments are based on years of research where she interviewed people to discover what it meant to live a wholehearted or ‘solid’, ‘happy’, ‘joyful’ etc life. Around this idea of being grateful people said to her “Being grateful and joyful doesn’t mean that I’m happy all of the time.” She asked the interviewees, “What does it look like when you’re joyful and grateful, but not happy?” Their response was insightful:
“Happiness is tied to circumstances and joyful is tied to spirit and gratitude.”
Wow. What an insight to the difference between happiness and joy and where gratitude connects. There is much more to be said on this topic of gratitude, joy and happiness. For now I’d like to hear from you.
Is this idea of practising gratitude a new idea? Would you like to begin this practise? Does it scare you or excite you? What does gratitude look like in your life or what would you like it to look like? Are you already practising gratitude? If so, please share how it’s making a difference in your life. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.
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