Being Grateful is often a momentary feeling; a one-shot deal. It happens when you’re waiting for a root canal and you suddenly feel profoundly grateful for general anesthetic. Or it’s your turn around the Thanksgiving table so you mentally recount your blessings.
Being Grateful is wonderful. It also tends to be reactive and fleeting and has little real impact on the big picture of how you live your life.
Practicing Gratitude, on the other hand, is proactive. It’s a habit. Like any positive habit that you practice everyday, it’s long-lasting and far-reaching and life-changing.
Practicing Gratitude is making a regular practice out of feeling and expressing gratitude. It can be as large or as small as you want. Write one thing, or three things, or five things in a journal each night. Or tell one person each week why you’re grateful for them (both of these are proven to increase happiness, by the way). Or my favorite—make it a family game where no one gets to take a bite of dinner until they’ve shared one thing they appreciate from that day.
So the task is easy…but the Practice part is what’s really important. Making it a practice is where all the benefits are.
When it’s a Practice, you find yourself naturally drawn to what’s right with life and what’s good out there. You don’t have to search for positive people or work hard to make good things happen. The people just show up and things that happen are good. And if not, you don’t notice because you’re too tuned in on what’s right with life to even recognize what might be wrong.