Gratitude is one of the most fulfilling, joyous, and selfless feelings a human being can experience. According to countless studies released by Psychology Today, practicing gratitude makes us happier and experience a greater sense of gratification with our own lives.
Unfortunately, most of us have either fallen out of the practice of gratitude, or never learned it in the first place. And it is something we must practice! It can be nerve wracking to share our joy with a stranger, or even with a friend, colleague, or family member. It is a vulnerable act.
“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” – Brene Brown
Think back. Have you ever seen someone smile and laugh, and it brightened your day? Or someone said hello unexpectedly, and it gave you a boost? Perhaps your barista remembered your drink order, and you felt seen and known by a near stranger.
Have you ever thought about telling that person how they made your day better, just by being them? Have you ever considered saying thank you for being you and doing what you did? Consider how you would feel if someone shared their gratitude for you.
Engaging gratitude as a spiritual practice might be a new idea for you, but it is worth a try. Here’s a few ways to practice gratitude:
A journal is a great way to start to become aware of gratitude. Every night, reflect on your day and write three things (at least three things) that brought you joy. Push yourself. Write at least three things you are grateful for. They can be physical things like a roof over your head or food on your plate. They can be people in your life that you do or do not know. They can be for acts of service, like a door being held, or for experiences in life.
Stick to it! Getting past the second week is always the hardest part. But, little by little, you will start to notice things during your day and think, “Oh this! This is going on my list tonight.”
After a few weeks of recognizing the moments in your days that make your heart sing, it’s time to take the next step. Let the person know how have they impacted your day. You can do this verbally, in the moment, or during your journal session at night, write a note.
Invest in some fun note cards that make you happy and write it down! It can be short and sweet or it can be an in depth explanation. But tell the person that you are grateful for what they did. And the last part, is to give them the note. You can leave it for them to find as a surprise, or hand it to them face to face. (This can feel intimidating the first time to be sure, but it gets easier the more you practice.)
Once you are feeling confident in giving gratitude notes and expressing joy, comes the really fun part; gratitude gifts. After spotting your joy for the day, it is your job to hone in; take note of the joy giver, and the ways in which you may be able to say thank you. Keep in mind, these gifts do not have to be expensive or cost anything at all! They can be handmade or an act of kindness. Perhaps an old copy of your favorite book, or a small gift card for coffee.
Whatever you come up with, be sure to give from your joy, and let them know why.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. – GK Chesterton
You see, the more you look for the good things, the more good things you see. The more you tell people how grateful you are, the better everyone feels. Practicing gratitude can change your entire world, and it all starts with you.
Gratitude is, many times, all that stands between a person and finding pure, innate happiness. It’s not the presents at the store, the new car in your garage, or the drink at the bar. It’s what you feel right in your soul, an appreciation for all the gifts in your life.
We believe that gratitude is the secret sauce, which is exactly what we want to help you communicate through your church marketing. We provide worship digital marketing and media services, helping you to accurately communicate your church platform so people are aware of what you are offering everyone in the community. People are out there, hoping to experience the joy of living; it’s up to you to reach them and we want to help.