Living Out Living Life With Gratitude

As I announced in my first post of this year, I have decided to live my life with gratitude in 2015. I have not been intentional about this before, so it will be interesting to see how this changes me over the course of the year.

I will be sharing photos of stuff/people/situations that I am grateful for on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #365grateful.  Read this post to discover why I decided to no longer share a daily gratitude photo on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Where did #365grateful come from?

When I first had the idea to share gratitude in photos, I checked to see if anyone else was already doing this. I discovered

In 2008 Hailey Bartholomew, was dealing with depression and decided to take a photo each day of something she was grateful for. This process changed her life and helped her discover the power of gratitude. The TED talk video on her site confirmed my desire to give this a try. She used and encourages others to use the hashtag #365grateful.

What I think will this look like for me

Since this is new to me, my photos starting out will likely include things I already am grateful: my family, cats, playing the organ, reading books, and eating real food. I am hoping as the year goes that I will notice more and less obvious and deeper things.

I will also continue to write thank you notes to people for gifts or other acts of kindness. Writing a thank you note is an easy way to express our gratitude. Thank you notes also help us focus on another person instead of ourselves.

I am also thankful for the words that I have been written by others and have set a goal to read 36 books this year. Through books, we can learn something new, be entertained, feel something,

I will be reading some gratitude books for inspiration. One of the books will be, A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life (affiliate link) about a man who wrote someone a thank you note every day for a year.

Why I am a bit nervous about this project:

What if what I share comes across as bragging? Life is not perfect for anyone but typically people are only sharing the good and positive parts of their life on the Internet. My life isn’t perfect!

Being grateful for stuff can turn into a game of comparison. For example, I might say I am grateful for X after I realize I have X and someone else doesn’t have their own X. X can be material possession or situations.

What if no one cares what I am grateful for? Should this be a private thing? I hope that by sharing others will be inspired to look at what they are grateful for in their life. But how many pictures of my cats do people really want to see?

What does it mean to be grateful and have gratitude?

Find Joy in the OrdinaryWhat does it mean when we say we are grateful for this or that? According to Merriam-Webster being grateful is appreciative of benefits received or expressing gratitude (a feeling of appreciation or thanks).

It’s about having an attitude of gratitude. Even when things are not going well, there is usually a silver lining that can be found.

It means recognizing that we are not entitled to receive gifts/help/whatever and not taking things for granted.

How can you participate?

If you are on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter (or your preferred social network) share a photo or comment with what or who you are grateful for each day. If you’d like, you can tag it with #365grateful. With consistency people may notice a change in you (that is what I’m hoping happens to me!) and become inspired to try being more grateful themselves.

Many people keep a gratitude journal to keep track daily of what they are grateful.

Write more thank you notes! (discover awesome thank you note writing here)

More Resources:

There are many smart phone gratitude apps. I have not tried any of them (yet) but this one looks like a good one:

Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal from the Greater Good Science Center.

If you are a Bible reader, there are many Bible verses about giving thanks.

I will be ordering a as it looks like it includes a gratitude section. I will write a review once I’ve given it a try.

Do you already practice daily gratitude? How has your life changed as a result?

About The Author
Heidi has been writing thank you notes for more than 30 years and is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes. Her goal is to help people write better thank-you notes by providing tips and examples.