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Effortless Gratitude: 4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood

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As you roll out of bed in the morning, what’s the first thought that crosses your mind?

Are you grateful to have another day on this earth?

Or do you need your morning coffee (with extra cream) before you can even begin to think about gratitude?

Research shows that gratitude has many benefits, but having a grateful attitude doesn’t come easily to everyone. It’s something that many people are always trying to have. A simple search for “gratitude journal” on Amazon resulted in 3,678 different books! Clearly, having a grateful attitude is something that many people view as a work in progress.

So, how can you practice having a more grateful attitude (without purchasing 3,678 gratitude journals)?

1. Use your phone

Is 3:00 p.m. an especially hectic time for you? Is 5:00, when you’re trying to get dinner on the table, your most frantic time of day?

Schedule a reminder in your phone to say “be thankful” or something along those lines. When the reminder goes off, take a second to think about the thing that you’re most thankful for, and then get back to the craziness. It doesn’t take more than a second. You’ll find that you’re not nearly as stressed as you were five minutes before the reminder.

2. Write in your planner

When I made my new planner, I included a line on each day’s page for gratitude. At the end of each day, as I’m thinking about what I accomplished (or didn’t finish and need to move to the next day), I take a second to think about everything in my life.

What was the one thing that you’re most grateful about that day? Sometimes I take the time to write it down, but most days I just think about my life and reflect on all my blessings. Then I start my evening routine (packing lunches, backpacks, and getting ready for the next day) with a happier outlook.

3. Discuss it over dinner

On Living Well Spending Less, Ruth Soukup shared how she and her family discuss their days around the dinner table.

Taking time with your family to practice gratitude can have long reaching effects. Not only are you teaching your family to practice gratitude, but you’re sharing your own feelings and listening to theirs. I love the idea of playing a game to get my kids to open up about their day.

4. Drink coffee

Coffee may or may not make you grateful, but you can set aside a few minutes (even 30 seconds will do) when no one else is around. Think about your day, your week, and your life in general. Think about what you want to accomplish, what’s you’ve already accomplished, and practice being grateful.

You can do this over your morning coffee, or even in the shower. When I was working outside the home, I didn’t have a spare second in the morning to drink coffee at home and enjoy my morning. Instead, I took a few seconds in the shower every day to reflect and be grateful.

Gratitude doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. You don’t need to buy 3,678 gratitude journals to be grateful. You don’t even need to write down your thoughts, although some find it helpful, and it is fun to look back over the years in old journals. Even so, pausing for a few seconds each day can help put you in the right frame of mind. Keep it simple and watch your mood improve.

How do you have a grateful attitude? Leave a comment below!

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Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Thursday 1st of September 2016

Great tips - I love #1! Dinnertime is definitely the hardest part of the day in my house, when the kids are cranky, I'm trying to put food on the table and my husband is trying to settle in after getting home from work. I dread it. But a little reminder to think of what's good in my life could go a long way!

Alison Lange

Wednesday 28th of September 2016

It's so easy to snap in those busy, stressful moments. But even taking a second can make a huge difference.

Cristina at Ava's Alphabet

Saturday 7th of May 2016

These are lovely reminders. Practicing more gratitude and compassion are daily goals for me in my life right now. Thank you for sharing!

Alison Lange

Monday 9th of May 2016

Those are awesome goals. Compassion is often overlooked, but it's so important. Thanks for sharing!

Long Ladies

Wednesday 4th of May 2016

Thank you for sharing on this topic! Honest gratitude is sincerely lacking in today's world. A great book to read is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It completely changed how I view my entire life. It's not made me perfectly thankful (is that ever a thing in this world? ;) ) But it has helped me to see the good as WELL AS the bad. ~Haley

Alison Lange

Wednesday 4th of May 2016

I agree, and it's so easy to get caught up in everyday life that we just forget to be grateful!

Thank you for the book recommendation. I've been meaning to read that book! I'll have to bump it up on my list. ;)

Karen

Wednesday 4th of May 2016

Thanks for the reminder - and the tips. I'm definitely a work in progress in this area!

Alison Lange

Wednesday 4th of May 2016

Thanks, Karen!

Rachel @ Smart Mom Smart Ideas

Tuesday 3rd of May 2016

Hi Alison, this is an important reminder. I often forget to be grateful. I love your suggestion about using a reminder on your phone or note on your planner to just write down something you are grateful today. Having a heart full of gratitude makes us a different person. Thanks for sharing at Mom-to-Mom Mondays.

Alison Lange

Wednesday 4th of May 2016

"Having a heart full of gratitude makes us a different person." So true!