In our latest blog article we explained the reasons why feeling grateful is so hard for us. In addition, we discussed 4 perspectives that help to feel more grateful for your career. However, even with these 4 perspectives in your back pocket, you still need everyday practices during which you dedicate time to feeling grateful. This way, grateful perspectives, and gratitude as such, naturally become part of your regular life.
Now we know that this year has been rough on many people’s jobs and working lives. Accordingly, it might be hard to be grateful for your career if you’re put on furlough, in between jobs, or struggling to keep your company going. Yet, also in these times, practicing gratitude is invaluable, because it’ll not just help you appreciate your current (work) life; it’ll also put you in your best state to tackle whatever new challenge lays ahead.
So, even though it’s hard, try to appreciate the unique things about this time that you can be grateful for – a chance to pick up or return to a hobby; more time for sports; no more excuse to not clean out your closet; taking up some repairs in or around the house; or catching up with an old friend (who may be in the same boat as you are).
So, without further ado, here are 3 easy gratitude practices that easily fit into any schedule.
- Gratitude practice 1: Write down what you’re grateful for
This one is even simpler than it sounds. All you need to do is to pen down 5 things that you feel grateful for. Mix and match as you like, it doesn’t really matter. For example, at the end of a regular workday your list could be made up as follows:
- 1. Woke up in time today, which gave me time to drink my coffee in peace
- 2. Cleaned up my email inbox
- 3. Structured my planning for the week
- 4. Actually finished that to-do thing that was pending for weeks
- 5. Received a compliment for the article that I wrote
The act of cooking up 5 things and writing them down forces you to take a moment to actually reflect on all the things that you can feel grateful for in life. In this, you automatically live in the present for a moment and, as research points out, actually feel better about your life.
On most days, there won’t be major gratitude-inspiring events that you can write down, but that’s not really the point. Practicing gratitude for the smaller things in your life is something you can do every day. Within no-time, you’ll notice how even the smallest things can elevate your mood – not just in the moment but also throughout the rest of your day.
#Pro-tip: You can of course write these 5 things on that random post-it within hand’s reach, and that will work just fine. However, consider dedicating a journal for your gratitude lists. This way you can write down your grateful moments whenever they come to mind, or leaf through it when you need some inspiration or a little pick-me-up. Free bonus; by reading through your journal you’ll get a lot of insight into your own mind :).
- Gratitude practice 2: Practice gratitude during a walk
Getting up and taking a walk during your (work)days is already a good practice to begin with. You’re getting some movement in, which gets your blood flowing and your digestion going, and it helps you to maintain proper posture throughout the day. Moreover, if you’re taking your walk outside, you’ll get some fresh air, and perhaps a little immersion in nature if that’s where your feet can take you.
Now that’s a serious list of benefits already; no wonder that the Greek philosopher Hippocrates regarded the simple act of walking as our “best medicine.” However, you can easily turn it up a notch by practicing gratitude while you’re taking a walk. The only requirement is that you go alone, or if someone insists on coming along, that you don’t talk. This way you can think about the things that you are grateful for – at that very moment, in your career, and in your life.
Need a starting point? Consider the things that you wrote in your gratitude list for today. Then, speak them – out loud, in a whisper, while shouting – so you can actually hear your gratitude materialize and resonate right in front of you.
- Gratitude practice 3: Express your gratitude to the people around you
By now you should have some ideas on how you can feel more grateful for yourself, by yourself. But, even better is when you can extend your gratitude toward the people that you interact with. No inspiration on how to begin? Perhaps you can share something on your gratitude list with the person that it relates to. Other than that, expressing gratitude can be very simple: a smile or “thank you” to the people helping you at the counter or cash register already goes a long way. Also, thanking your colleague, employer, or partner for that compliment that you received is a nice gesture in return. And don’t forget to tell your friend that you appreciate the advice or listening ear that they always offer you!
The participants of a University of Pennsylvania study were asked to express their gratitude to someone in a letter. Interestingly, all of the participants scored significant increases in all the measurements relating to happiness, both during and after this task. In other words, expressing gratitude makes not just the receiver but also the giver of gratitude happy.
The latter I noticed after my parents “forced” me to thank them for cooking dinner all throughout my youth. By the time I was about 18 or 19, I finally realized that it was actually nice to feel grateful for the cooking and the dinner that resulted from it. And when I started cooking for other people during my student time, I felt how nice it was to have people expressing their gratitude for my cooking efforts as well.
#Nice bonus – it’s perfectly legitimate to feel grateful for expressing gratitude toward people around you. This way, you can get a vicious cycle of gratitude going☺.
How to appreciate your career journey
So, whether your career is cruising at 130 kilometers an hour or whether your latest enterprise failed because of the corona measures: it’s all part of the journey. Your journey, in fact, and for that very reason it’s unique – something worth appreciating all by itself already.
Subsequently, remember that whether your failed enterprise, job layoff, or major setback turns out as a “bad” or a “good” thing, is something that you can only tell in hindsight. There’s a saying that any ending is just a disguise for a new beginning, but you have to realize that it will only start feeling like that once you can find acceptance for it.
So, if you’re in that boat, take a moment to feel grateful for this new beginning – one where you’re given the opportunity to reevaluate your career path, and life accordingly. And if you’re going at 130 km/h, don’t forget to stop now and then to smell the roses, feel the sunshine, and simple be in gratitude.
Missed out on our blog article on gratitude? Click here to catch up.