I figured one week just wasn’t enough to practice thankfulness, albeit, even a lifetime isn’t enough. And since I got a little sidetracked last Monday (therefore, the better-late-than-never Mindful Monday post on a Thursday) I figured I should practice it for another week and share my thoughts in today’s Mindful Monday post.
I contemplated how I’ve practiced thankfulness and gratitude these past two weeks and here is a short list of “how-to’s” to help you practice it every day:
- Focus on what’s right in your life instead of complaining about what’s not: When you find yourself stressing about all the things not right in your life, take a deep breath and refocus on all things that are right in your life – a job in a recession, a supportive family, friends that care, a loved one perhaps, the fact that you can walk on your two legs, easy access to water and food. Think about the less fortunate people who have it a lot worse than you do. Not only does this make you appreciate what you have but it also helps develop a compassionate heart towards others.
- Show your appreciation and the favour will be returned: Thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation are infectious almost 100% of the time. If you appreciate everything that others do for you, you will be recognized for even the smallest thing you do for them.
- Be mindful of the simple and little things in your life: Sure, all the privileges I listed in #1 are important and we should be grateful for them. But how about the little things? The barista who made your cup of tea or coffee this morning? The fact that you didn’t get rained on on your way to work? Your kids were well behaved this morning and were out the door on time? You will be far less stressed and have a better quality of life if you were satisfied with the simple things in life.
- Practice random acts of kindness: I don’t mean you should make daily donations. But do something for someone. Buy a cup of coffee for your colleague or, better still, the person in the line behind you. Treat a homeless person to a slice of pizza. Share your lunch. Call up a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and give your time. If you’re driving to work, offer to drive someone at a bus stop close by. This past week, I’ve offered my seat to someone, I’ve washed a colleague’s dish/cup at work a few times just because it was in the sink when I was washing mine and I’ve bought lunch for work friends. The possibilities are endless and if you are mindful enough, everyone could use your help.
- Let someone know how grateful you are to have them in your life: I’m shy at this because with my sarcastic (in a fun way) personality, people just won’t take me seriously :P. But I’ve surprised myself and I’ve shown my gratefulness without any hesitation to at least three people in my work circle this past week.
- “It’s a good life!”: I have my realtor Geoff Grace (Jr.) to thank for this – it’s his email signature and it struck a chord with me the first time I read it. Somewhere in that messy mind we know that we have it good. But how often do we say that to ourselves or even think it? I’ve tried to make this the last thought before I go to bed. It’s amazing how you sleep with a smile planted on your lips! Try it out – it works!
I’ve enjoyed every bit of this practice and strive to make this a habit. I struggle with #1 and #5 a lot but being mindful of that alone helps me overcome it. I’m sure we can add to this list so feel free to send in your thoughts. Thanks for reading! 🙂