Increasing Presence with Gratitude
How to use a gratitude mindset to slow down and increase presence in your life
With the autumn solstice having passed last Thursday, summer officially ended and we have transitioned into the beginning of fall. Can you believe there are only three months left in this year? Time seems to pass more quickly each year and while we can’t slow time, we can become active in the passing of time, instead of letting time go on without us.
For many (myself included), fall is the best part of the year: nature reinvents itself with a burst of vibrant new colors, wildlife makes itself seen while preparing for winter, and the weather evens out to be mild and enjoyable each day, encouraging us to go out into nature ourselves to savor and celebrate the glory of the hallmarks of fall.
For some, fall is a dreaded milestone in the year, sapping summer of its warmth and introducing the transition to a winter of cold solitude and inactivity. However, you can celebrate changes in nature regardless of if you enjoy fall or not with a simple perspective shift to a gratitude mindset.
As traces of summer no longer linger in the transition to fall, nature begins to slow down. Perhaps, as humans, we might feel rushed and busier than ever to accomplish everything we need to before the end of the year, but we can stay aligned with nature without losing any momentum on our progress.
All of this can be accomplished by slowing down and intentionally being more present. It might sound simple, but how do you actually adjust your lifestyle to actively slow down and increase presence? It’s actually more simple and achievable than you think: all you need is intention and a gratitude mindset.
What is a gratitude mindset?
Gratitude is a popular value for many people, but it’s so much more than just saying thank you, saying grace before a meal and not taking the things in your life for granted.
True gratitude should resonate deeply into your core, filling you up with feelings of thankfulness, abundance and contentment. Gratitude is not a stationary thought or consideration that is activated by a temporary experience like Thanksgiving dinner or the person in front of you in the drive-thru paying for your coffee.
Gratitude is a continuous mental state, in which you recognize, celebrate and foster those feelings both within and outside of yourself. You can find more information on gratitude and how to cultivate it to influence your gratitude mindset in my blog “Re-framing Gratitude.”
A gratitude mindset is a constant, active intention to find and create gratitude everywhere, regardless of circumstance, every day.
What does a gratitude mindset look like in daily life?
Things you might find yourself recognizing on average day with a gratitude mindset:
Waking up, alive and with the gift of a new day
The food in your meals throughout the day and the privilege that comes with being able to be able to fill your belly in a nutritious way
Living in your own space
The people you interact with; even if you don’t enjoy everyone you come across, you can be grateful for the opportunity to grow
The nature that surrounds you as you move throughout your day
The things you do in your free time—being able to do them and having free time
A warm shower to decompress and get clean
Your bed to sink into and get rest
The value of a good night’s sleep
When you slowly shift to a gratitude mindset with the intention to create a shift in perspective where even negative things have value, your mind will more easily recognize joy and bigger sources of gratitude will be even more impactful and meaningful, while each day continues to be filled with contentment. And, you more easily breeze through obstacles and difficult days by being able to recognize that everything is an opportunity for growth, insight and thankfulness.
How to adopt a gratitude mindset
A gratitude mindset might sound like something you can just shift into, and while that might be possible, it’s more likely that you’ll need to define some realistic ways to integrate it into your daily life before it becomes subconscious. Here are some starting points for you to consider taking time throughout your day to practice using a gratitude mindset:
Add it to a routine- During your morning routine, brushing your teeth, your nighttime routine, your work commute, etc. take some time to make an internal gratitude list of things that come to mind at that time.
Find it during a negative mindset shift- When something happens that creates an obstacle in your day or dampens your mood, adapt a gratitude mindset and find something good that can come from the situation.
Journaling- The JMB Living Journal includes a “Things I Am Grateful For” prompt daily for a reason: to help create that shift day-by-day and, eventually, the answers will come to you so much more easily.
Gratitude list- Whenever you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for AND whenever you feel overflowing with gratitude, make a list of everything you’re grateful for. Spend some time truly reflecting about the aspects of your life that deserve your gratitude and write them down. You can reference this list when things feel hard, or to look at in the future and reminisce about how your life has both changed and stayed the same.
Linger there - Think of feeling gratitude like the feeling you get when sinking into a warm bath at the end of an exhausting day. Savor the feeling, noticing how your body and mind react and make an intention to simply enjoy feeling this way for a few moments.