If you’ve never experienced a state of overwhelming gratitude, a state where you felt like your heart was going to implode from so much joy, where you felt tiny and huge at the same time, where every cell in your body was buzzing with fulfillment and freedom, then let me say that you are missing out on one of life’s greatest drugs.
To get to that state, however, you need to practice.
I often meet people who say that they practice gratitude.
When I probe a little deeper I typically find out that it’s not true. They don’t practice it regularly. They don’t practice it the way that a violinist practices the fiddle.
Gratitude needs to be practiced every single day. And not just for a few minutes. I recommend that you try to practice it for at least 3 hours a day.
If this surprises you, if you’ve never thought about practicing gratitude daily for hours — I understand.
I was the same way once. Even today, I can’t say that I practice daily for 3 hours every single day.
But I try.
How can we get in so much practice? The key is that you can (and should) practice gratitude anywhere. Any time. All the time.
Start right now. Here are some ideas for injecting more gratitude practice into your life:
17 Tips for Practicing Gratitude All Day
- Feel grateful before putting that first bite of food in your mouth. Food is amazing. Savor it.
- Feel grateful before taking that first sip of coffee or tea. Look at it, smell it, enjoy it.
- Feel grateful as you feel the water getting hotter in the shower. Hot water on demand? Wow!
- Feel grateful for running water. It’s magical. You just turn the tap, and the water comes in. Unlike a billion people, you don’t have to walk a mile to the nearest water source. Aren’t you grateful for that?
- Feel grateful for your vehicle. In Costa Rica, where I lead an annual qigong retreat, I meet people who will never own a car. If they have a scooter or a motorcycle, they are rich. Many of us own several cars per family. Isn’t that amazing?
- Feel grateful for your spouse or significant other. Relationships are sometimes hard, but they’re also rewarding. Be grateful that this person is basically devoting his or her life to you.
- Feel grateful for friends. You know the kind I’m talking about — those friends who would offer to help you move without hesitation. They’re awesome, and they are rare.
- Feel grateful for your parents. Living or dead, good or evil, they brought you into this world. Feel grateful for everything they did for you, or in some cases, for all the tough lessons that they forced you to learn. Whatever you have become is partially due to them.
- Feel grateful for your smartphone. It’s a tiny magic device that fits in your pocket and can connect you to anyone in the world from anywhere. It’s also something that you use all day, which is a great way to remind yourself to be grateful.
- Feel grateful for your computer. Mine recently died, and I suddenly realized how important a tool it is. I’m grateful to have a new one.
- Feel grateful for your ability to read. Do you realize that there are people around you all the time who can’t read? More than you might think.
- Feel grateful for your TV. Sure, it may be an idiot box, but it’s still an amazing device that can let you experience all kinds of different things. Feel grateful whenever you turn it on.
- Feel grateful for the health that you have (even if you want more of it).
- Feel grateful for the teachers and mentors in your life. They have helped to mold you into what you are. And whether you realize it or not, you have made some of them proud.
- Feel grateful for your home, whether you rent or own. As you put the key into the door, or click the garage door opener (another amazing device!), take a moment to feel grateful.
- Feel grateful for your pets. It’s an amazing privilege to be able to take care of non-human beings. Every time you touch them, feel grateful.
- Feel grateful for your mindfulness practice, whether it’s qigong, tai chi, yoga, sitting meditation, or something else. Invest gratitude back into these arts, because they will pay big dividends. (If you don’t know any qigong, then you an start right now on this page here.)
If you join my Facebook group, you’ll see me leading what I call “Gratitude Mondays”. Basically, I encourage people to share whatever they are grateful for. I recommend that you join us.
If you don’t like Facebook, then you can also join us here. Who or what are you grateful for? Tell us in the comments below. From the heart, Sifu Anthony