“Hey! How was your day off?”
“Pretty good! I had a good day. I wrote an article, read a book, cooked a few dishes, and cleaned the house.”

For someone who always feels the need to achieve more, do better, be better, get more out of each day, I need a constant reminder to be thankful for what I have and to realise that I am very fortunate. I am still not at a point where I can sit back and relax for a few hours, soak up the beauty of the world we live in and be grateful.

Today, I’d like to share with you five things that I do to practice gratitude in everyday life, which make me feel richer, happier and more successful.

Have a daily gratitude routine

I find that when I have a few quiet minutes during the day, or at nights before going to bed, reflecting on good things that happened throughout the day makes me feel more thankful and happier. There is always something to be grateful for; whether it is about having a roof above our heads, being able to provide for my family, or witnessing a random act of kindness when I least expect it. This is why Oprah shared that the single most important thing she’s ever done in her life is keeping a gratitude journal and writing down five things she is grateful for every single day.

Think in terms of progress, not perfection

I have a lot of goals in life, some are crazier and bigger than others. Writing new year resolutions without fail every December/January has been my jam since I was in my early 20’s. Sometimes, I achieved them, sometimes I didn’t but I realised that I was often too focused on end goals that I forgot to enjoy the experience or celebrate small wins. There must be some truth about neurons in our brains that cultivate positive states of mind, I am certainly more appreciative when I celebrate small wins.

Be mindful

Have you ever been in a situation where you were doing something else when eating your meal that you didn’t realise how you finished an entire plate? I have. Many times, in fact. Multitasking is an enemy of mindfulness. It is hard to be mindful and therefore grateful when my brain is switching back and forth between multiple activities. These days, I try my best to be mindful of what I am currently doing; be it eating, walking, writing, cooking or speaking. When I am mindful, I feel clarity and appreciation of the situation, the experience and the surrounding.

Practise a random act of kindness

Whenever I see the phrase “random act of kindness”, I picture an image of helping a homeless. While helping a homeless person on the street is indeed a random act of kindness, it is not the only act of kindness. Making way for someone who is in a hurry, letting an elderly skip the line, giving a listening ear to a colleague who is having a bad day, volunteering at a community event, donating to a charity, sharing my knowledge online or offline to those who need it, doing someone a favour without asking or expecting anything in return, or something as simple as picking up litter on a street are some ideas for random act of kindness that I have practised and each time after I have done a random act of kindness, I feel thankful. Thankful for the opportunity and thankful for having the capacity or ability.

Spend time outside

My couch at home is quite comfortable and I work at a pretty nice office but spending time outside beats staying indoors any time of the day. I am lucky because with a small human being (aka my daughter) to look after, I am forced to get out of the house every day. I notice that after going for a walk in the neighbourhood or a playtime at a local park, I feel much more alive and energetic. In summer when the sun doesn’t go down until 8pm, my family usually goes out for a walk or a play at a local park after dinner. This routine is not only good for my body but also for my mind.

I like practising gratitude every day because I feel richer and happier and it makes me a better human.

Think about all the questions that change lives in an instant: Will you marry me? Will you accept the position? Would you like fries with that?

OK, maybe not the last one so much. That said, questions are powerful tools for intentional living. They invite introspection, conversation, and connection.

Asking a few strategic questions will set you up for increased positive emotion. Acting on your honest, authentic answers can transpire into true happiness.

Try these questions on and see how happy looks on you:

1. What are you doing when you lose track of time?

DO MORE OF THIS! You’re in the zone. The zone is chock-full of contentment, happiness, purpose, and clarity.

2. What do you choose over sleep or sex?

You must seriously love whatever this is. I’d say do more of this ASAP (plus sleep and sex). This one is going to require some time management.

3. What are you doing for others?

Not giving back? It’s scientifically proven to increase your happy! Find a way to contribute today! Donating your time, money, skill-set, or helping hands will instantly boost your own morale. It’s a win-win-win!

4. How much progress have you made on your Bucket List?

You don’t have one? Now’s the time. You will have instant purpose and motivation to take action on the things that will make you excited and fill you up. In fact, without even crossing anything off your list, you will increase your happy just by making one. How simple is that?

5. How do you share your gratitude?

Most of us feel so much gratitude for the people in our lives, but we hardly ever express our thanks. Not only will sharing your thanks make you feel great, it will certainly spark joy in others. Another double-whammy!

By answering these strategic questions and taking action, you are destined to be happier today!

Featured image supplied by Tara Ashcraft.


Tara Ashcraft Leaders in Heels bio imgTara Ashcraft, MSEC

Tara is a change expert and master coach who gets her kicks from helping women make changes in order to live big, bold, brave, beautiful lives. She believes in sharing the stories of our change journeys to inspire and encourage each other. She has over ten years of experience in learning and development in both private and public sectors. She’s equal parts psychology, pom-poms, pixie dust, and pinot. Follow Tara on Twitter via @taracashcraft