How to Develop a Daily Gratitude Practice

A daily gratitude practice can be a transformational experience in the way that you see the world. When you lead with gratitude, you begin to see the value in what you have as opposed to what you do not have. By spending a few minutes a day focusing on gratitude you can literally rewire your brain and catapult yourself into a new way of life. Sounds like a lot of work but it really is very simple.

The Why

The first time I was ever asked to name 5 things I was grateful for I froze. It was October of 2016 and I was working with a consultant hired by our district to help administrators improve their practice. Unfortunately, I was too focused on all of the issues, problems and shortcomings as opposed to all of the things that were going well. I couldn’t see the forest or the trees 🙂

Gratitude helps you …

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Develop a new perspective on the world
  3. Get through tough times

Gratitude Journal 

In order to develop a daily gratitude practice you need to find some way to capture 3-5 things you are grateful for. There are many journals out there that have prompts and areas for you to write or draw. You can use a note book or even post its. I like using the Notes App in my phone. No matter what you choose, just make sure it is something you will be able to use on an ongoing basis and it is convenient.

How to develop a Daily Gratitude Practice

Step 1

  • Carve out 5 minutes in the morning where can find a comfortable spot to reflect on the previous day.
  • Go back through the day and think of situations, people, places or things that you were grateful for. Specifically, it could have been a phone call to a loved one, the fact that the sun was shining, that you got paid, that you had a relaxing shower, etc.

Step 2

  • Write down 5 things that you are grateful for in your journal, notebook or phone.
  • Be sure to date the entry and maybe write a sentence or two about the day in general.

Step 3

  • Take 3 cleansing breaths to get centered
  • Read each of the entries and start with “I am grateful for …” and breathe as you read each one.
  • After you are finished, read them again and after each one say “Thank you, thank you, thank you”

Start now

Take a moment and think of one thing you are grateful for and say “thank you.” Decide that you are going to dedicate 5 minutes a day to developing a gratitude practice.

Feel free to use this post or this presentation that I made to help others with gratitude. Let me know how you make out on your journey!

About the Author 
Spike Cook, Ed.D., Principal, Lakeside Middle School, Millville, NJ. In addition to being a Principal, Dr. Cook published two books through Corwin Press (Connected Leadership: It’s Just a Click Away; Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader). He is the co-host of the popular PrincipaPLN podcast and his blog, Insights Into Learning, was recognized as a finalist for Best Administrator Blog by the EduBlog Awards. Spike earned his Doctorate from Rowan University and is featured in their Alumni Spotlight. He is featured in Twinkl’s 30 Education Influencers You Need to Follow and Klear’s Top Ten Middle School Influencers. Dr. Cook is also on the Education Advisory Board for Whole Health Ed. Connect with @drspikecook via Twitter, YouTube,  LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

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