Gratitude as a habit—Guest post from Leanne Chapman

This is a guest post, the third in the Gratitude Practice series. Every week, I’m posting a submitted article about the powerful practice of gratitude. You are invited! More details here.

Today I welcome Leanne Chapman, who blogs about finding your true self at ClaimYourTreasure.com


Gratitude as a habit

As a therapist and coach, I’ve often heard myself suggesting to clients that they start a gratitude journal where they list at least five things each morning or evening that they can give thanks for. Many of them groaned when I asked them to list items off the top of their head for practice before going home to try it, and said they couldn’t think of anything. But without exception they would come back and tell me how much easier it got each day they did it, and some later described listing up to thirty items without hesitation.

At this stage my own gratitude practice was sporadic, I would make lists in my journal two or three days a week and then two weeks would go by and I wouldn’t write anything. I would listen to my discussions with clients and think to myself “I really should do that” —practice what I preach—right?

A good way to get into a new habit is to start with committing to just thirty days, or even seven days if a month feels overwhelming for you. It’s less overwhelming that way and chances are that by the time you’ve completed your trial period, you’ll already be in the habit and will find it easy to continue. Finally I got serious and decided to be grateful each night for one entire month. I discovered that writing my gratitude list did become easier each night, just as my clients had described. It became a habit.

As I did it my focus switched from I don’t have / haven’t done / haven’t mastered / wish I could do to what I do have / what I’ve achieved and I began to value myself and appreciate my life a whole lot more. If gratitude is a practice you’d like to try but you haven’t been able to make the commitment yet, try doing it for the next seven days, and see what happens. You never know, it might change your whole perspective, and it might just get easier as you go. ☺

I’m very grateful to Sue for offering me the opportunity to share my gratitude practice on her beautiful website.

 
Photo: I found the beautiful gratitude spiral here.
 

Leanne Chapman is a qualified psychologist and life coach who runs Claim Your Treasure, a place to discover your truth and create a life that makes sense.  

Leanne uses creative processes involving art, writing, nature and even animals to help you uncover the true story of you.

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I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

  1. Thanks so much, Leanne, for sharing your practice and I’m so glad it works for you.
     
    I have to laugh, though, at myself. Knowing me, a seven-day trial would be just that, seven days and then it would peter out. For a transforming woman of my type, making my practices (the ones that are designed to change my thinking, words and actions for the better) as daily as possible is what I need.
     
    I found, and continue to find, that today’s serenity and generosity and happiness do not come from last month’s gratitude practice. So for me, I do and teach gratitude practice as an “as often as possible, yes that means daily, yo” way to be. And way to change everything. For the better.
     
    Love and light,
    Sue

  2. Thanks leanne for the reminder , i fall of the wagon when it comes to writing it down regularly as well, I do however take time out every day to give thanks for everything I’m fortunate to have running water, heating , electricity , friends , sight that kinda thing. I also recommend a gratitude journal to my clients like you to list 5 things ( 2 to be nature) We are truly blessed and need to be constantly reminded so Thank you Leanne

  3. I have a gratitude journal app on my phone, it’s brilliant because I can just write down what I’m grateful for at the moment I think of it. Even so, it’s hard to do it every day, but perhaps it’s okay to give yourself permission to do it when you’re ready to. I used to think that being specifically grateful was completely pointless, because although I knew I had plenty to be grateful for it didn’t take away all the stress I have. Now I try to be purposefully grateful I realise that it doesn’t make the stressful stuff go away, but it does make it easier to bear. Love and Light xx

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