Sometimes we need a helping hand to see a ‘bad day’ for what it really is. It’s often an alright day, actually, with a few minor hiccups thrown in that can colour our judgement. This simple gratitude habit from James Clear, speaker and author of the New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, can help us to regain perspective. We’ve started doing this, and we think you should give it a try too.
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The habit is simple. Every day, take a moment to reflect on the things that have happened and say one thing that you are grateful for. You might want to tie it in with something that was problematic in your day, to help shift the narrative from a negative experience to a positive one.
An example Clear gives is a family dinner that went wrong - a takeaway order that fell short, turning an easy, relaxed get together into a rushed and stressful experience. First world problems, right? After the frantic rush that was dinner, James expressed gratitude for a short trip earlier that day that allowed the family to spend time together - time that didn’t go to plan later that evening. Everyone else in the room shared their own grateful moment and the energy in the room was reset. In his words, it was like they all breathed a deep sigh and realised: “Ok, that was annoying, but we’re over it now. We live a very good life and it’s time to move on and enjoy the moment.”
Read on for more reasons to bring a little daily gratitude into your life.
Everyone has bad days and moments they would rather forget, but no matter what your day has thrown at you, practising gratitude helps to switch your mindset to a more positive place. You are forced to think about the good things in your life, even if it’s just for a few seconds. This means that not a single day goes without you acknowledging something positive in your life, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others.
Although the individual effect of practising daily gratitude is small - or maybe not, depending on the day you’ve had and what it is you have to be grateful for - the cumulative effect is huge. That’s where the power of this habit lies. Over time, you realise that you have lots of things to be grateful for and nearly every day can be a good day, even if it’s just in a small way.
Chances are that many of the things you are grateful for are not material things. Clear says that you start to realise how insignificant monetary things are for your day to day happiness - and he’s right. A compliment, a smile, a walk on the beach, time you spent with family or friends. Of course we need money, but it really is the little moments that don’t cost a thing that often come up when practising gratitude.
Practising gratitude is easy. It only takes a few moments of reflection and you can start it right now. Better still, use the stacking method and tie it into another behaviour that is already a habit. Clear ties his gratitude practice in with family dinner times, but you can pick any daily activity. Take a moment to reflect with your morning coffee, when you’re on your way home from work or when you’re brushing your teeth at bedtime. It really is that simple.
Give it a go and let us know how it goes over on Instagram.