Cultivating A Gratitude Practice

Alternate title: Why does Carla always know exactly what I’m thinking?

^ She had a fabulous post up recently about “improving on the noise.” There is a tool that I will not name that I think ruined Twitter for me and many others. Now, instead of logging in and conversing with those I know and those who share the same interests as me, I’m confronted with a stream of friends thinking they need to “engage” or “add to the conversation” by sharing as many articles as they can schedule in one day.

Yes, sometimes these lead me down interesting wormholes, but I rarely remember who posted it and build a connection with that person—which is the point of social media for me.

But anyway – for the past year or so, I’ve been making a conscious effort to put stuff on this corner of my Internet that I really want to, not just to share inspid details about my life and workouts for the sake of blogging.

I also prioritize other things over blogging these days, but I still cherish this little space on the Internet, so I wanted to tell you about my new latest ritual.

Last year, amidst tough times, I tried really hard to cultivate a mindfulness practice. Like everything else health related, you need to keep it up even in the good times (I’m not going to stop running just because I’m feeling particularly healthy!)…but I haven’t.

The other day, I was cleaning my apartment, and I happened to find a gratitude journal (randomly enough, branded by Wells Fargo. I have zero clue what one has to do with the other or where I originally got it, but alas.)

Some people share their gratitude online, but there’s certainly some stuff I’m very private about, but over the past few days, I’ve included everything from a really sweet comment on Instagram from a friend to being grateful to go back to work with coworkers I enjoy after a long weekend to a rare warm December day to a fun date at a Christmas-y bar followed by catching up with a good friend.

The holidays can be stressful and filled with so many expectations for many, but I love my new habit of taking a minute to be grateful at the end of each day.

What are you grateful for right now? How do you practice gratitude?


16 comments on “Cultivating A Gratitude Practice

  1. mindy @ just a one girl revolution.

    Gratitude is definitely something I don’t intentionally practice enough! This is a perfect time of year to start, though!! I’ve seen something on Pinterest where on January 1, you start a jar and put notes throughout the year of good things that happened, things you’re grateful for, etc., and then you review it all at the end of the year! That’s what I’m thinking of doing for 2015.

      1. Philip

        @Theodora Blanchfield:

        I love it too! Practicing gratitude doesn’t necessarily mean you start big right away. Plus, it would even be cute to read those notes after writing them for a year, right? Thank you for this inspiring post, Theodora! And Mindy, for that really nice idea!

  2. Ash Bear

    I agree with what you mentioned re the tool and I think that for me it’s helped with articles or other people posts but I do my best to also limit it to 2-3 per day.

    In regards to gratitude, I’m doing my best these days. I agree that it’s even harder when the going gets tough but it’s so important.

    I’m grateful for friends who stay in touch, like you! 🙂

    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      You are better than some 🙂 But overall, it’s that flooding of articles into the feed that’s made Twitter a huge turnoff for me outside of professional reasons. I think it’s even more important when the going gets tough but that it needs to start when the going isn’t tough so it’s there when the going IS tough. I’m grateful you’ll be back at the end of the month!

      1. Katie

        @Theodora Blanchfield: I feel you on the annoying “share everything/push content twitter feeds”. If its someone I don’t know, I unfollow them. If its someone I know, and don’t want to hurt their feelings if they realized I unfollowed, I put them on mute.

        As far as gratitude goes, I use my monthly recaps to realize how good each month is. Its easy to forget that there are good times.

  3. Ada

    I’m keeping a gratitude journal against this holiday season, where each night I write down three things I’m thankful for from the day gone by. I did this last year and found it was a fabulous way to keep the sometimes stressful holiday season in perspective.

  4. Kerry @ cookcleanrundream

    I used to keep one of those Oprah inspired gratitude journals. Write down five things per day kind of thing. But often times I included a couple things that were the same all the time. I think coming up with 5 things was hard at the end of the day. I like the idea of 1 or 2 things per day though. Maybe I need to give that a try. Right now I’m grateful that I have a husband that shares carpool duty and it’s not all me!

  5. joelle (on a pink typewriter)

    Such a great idea. I have tried to do this and you’re right – it’s tough sometimes to remember when things are going well, and even harder when things are NOT going well for other reasons, but that’s why it’s so important. There’s always a bright side if you look hard enough.

  6. Lora

    I try to say a prayer of gratitude every morning when I first wake up and be thankful for all the wonderful things in my life. Thanks for the post! Having a gratitude practice is SO important!

  7. Becky @ Olives n Wine

    This is a great practice that I definitely need to get into the habit of doing. When life is chaotic and busy and stressful we often forget how much we have to be grateful and thankful for in our lives. I’m definitely grateful for living in a warm climate for the first time this winter (ask me how I feel about this in the summer though, ha!) 🙂

  8. Emily

    I heard a suggestion on No Meat Athlete radio that I’ve been incorporating for a month or so- the last half mile of my run I turn off my music/podcasts/whatever and spend a few minutes thinking about what I’m thankful for.

  9. Heidi

    I don’t mean to sound negative but I find the idea that people need to cultivate a “gratitude practice” slightly ridiculous. It just seems like such a first world problem, how to be more grateful. I am as priviledged as the next person so I’m not trying to be judgemental, but maybe we should all just recognise that living a life where we can afford to worry about how to be grateful is one of life’s greatest priviledges.

  10. mom

    Be grateful for your health be grateful for this wonderful country we
    live in. Be grateful for friends and family enough to help each other
    and enjoy each other,
    Enjoy the simple gifts we are given see life through the eyes of a child
    and Trees decorate lots of Trees for Christmas!!!!!

  11. Lauren @ Beautiful Plant-Based Life

    I go through phases of regularly writing in a journal, simply to help me slow down and sort through my thoughts. A beautiful new journal = a fresh start. I end each journal experience with, “Today, I’m grateful for…” I definitely spend more time journaling when I’m going through a rough patch. I’ve been trying to keep up with it since losing my baby (due to a miscarriage). It’s helpful for me to see that, no matter how sad/angry I feel, there is still so much good that surrounds me.


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