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Write Your Way To A Grateful Life: 3 Ways To Practice Gratitude

Sometimes it takes challenges in your life to pull you back into the present.

I remember 2014. I had just quit my job. I was on my way to the business school of my dreams.

I had just registered my first company. Received my incorporation document from Legalzoom and bank account details from Bank of America.

I was hanging out with my brother and girlfriend during this 3-months transition to grad school.

Waking up, casually working on my business, making beats, watching Breaking Bad, and hanging out at night.

I was living the dream. Ready for my next phase in life and then SNAP.

One humid summer day we decided to play basketball and POP – a loud sound I hadn’t heard before.

I thought someone threw something at my heel. No one was close by.

As I hopped to the baseline, I realized my left Achilles had snapped.

I lay on the floor and one of my first words was “damn, I don’t have insurance”

Just like that, I was brought back to the present.

All it takes is a mishap, injury, illness, or loss of a loved one to bring you back to reality.

It’s a reminder to continue to stay grateful.

Is that write?

A lot of people are finding it hard to stay grateful and happy.

Unhappiness is increasing globally yet we are in an era of technological abundance.

Most people struggle with clarity and choice paralysis.

In an era of excessive choice, we tend to focus on what we don’t have.

Comparison, the midnight thief of joy, rears its head while you scroll down social media past midnight.

One second you are happy to connect with a friend.

The next moment, you are sad that you are not on vacation with your friends.

You forget that, even holding a phone that is connected to the internet, where you can connect with a diverse group of people is a privilege.

We have not cultivated the spirit of gratitude.

It is easy to get submerged in the day-to-day.

Constantly sitting in the regrets of yesterday and projecting to the anxieties of tomorrow.

The most important thing – the only thing that is tangible – the present evades us.

You have to find ways to reconnect with the present and anchor yourself in the now.

You can do this with gratitude and writing.

The act of writing what you are grateful for helps bring you back into the present.

Once you start to focus on what you have, the things that are on your mind that you claim to lack begin to dissipate.

Just a 15-minute exercise of writing and focusing on what you are grateful for can change your emotional state.

This practice done over a long period of time has both mental and physical benefits such as reduced anxiety, decreased insomnia, and stronger immune systems.

Write about gratitude and become more grateful.

Writing what you’re grateful for will change your mental and physical life for the better.

3 Ways to write gratitude into your life

Just like Koffee said in her song “Gratitude is a must”

Make gratitude a necessity, not a nice-to-have.

When you see people that are grateful, try to emulate them. Don’t say “They must be lucky to be happy”. You don’t know what they’re going through. They have just cultivated gratitude in their life. 

You should do the same too.

When you nurture gratitude, you’ll appreciate what you have in your life.

You will have a better daily experience filled with positive emotions.

You’ll build perspective on your own blessings and limit your comparisons and grudges.

Your perspective will propel you to get more of what you want without a focus on what you lack.

You will get a tool that you can use to clear the clutter in your mind to get more clarity and perspective to live a happier life.

Here are 3 steps to write your way to a more grateful life.

1. Be grateful and let go

Gratitude and forgiveness are the type of employees you want your spirit to hire

Not too long ago, I picked up a practice to say at least three things I’m grateful for every morning.

It initially felt forced, but with time I started noticing that even on a bad morning, when I completed my practice, I’d immediately feel a sense of relief and content.

Complaints and grudges are clogging up our mental space.

These things are living rent-free and only gratitude and forgiveness can free up our minds to thrive in the effortless state to take effortless action.

Complaints tend to shoot us on a downward spiral.

it lets us focus on what we lack, which squeezes out what we actually have, leaving no room for new ideas and creativity.

Gratitude, on the other hand, allows us to connect with what we have while we squeeze out lack.

We become open to creative ideas and foster social bonds.

Now let’s talk about grudges: another clog in the machine.

Grudges usually give you a sense of control in the short term. In the long term, however, they fester and start controlling you.

Think of grudges like an employee, what did you hire it for? Do an audit of your grudge’s performance and you’ll realize it’s actually draining more resources than it’s adding to your life.

With grudges, “hire slow, fire fast” don’t be so quick to pick them up and try to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Accept what you can’t control.

When people behave a certain way, accept their behavior for what it is and keep it moving.

This will save you a lot of mental and emotional energy

“When you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have. When you focus on what you have, you get what you lack”

~ Greg McKeown, Author of Effortless

When you find yourself complaining, be grateful about something right after. Do this as a practice until it becomes effortless and every complaint makes you see a possible thing to be grateful for. 

Practice letting go of grudges. Write about them and leave them on the paper. Get it out of your mind through a practice of reflection.

2. Your pen: a tool for understanding

Writing is more than just words for someone to read. Writing is about understanding life.

I have a stash of black notepads in a box at home.

I’ve been writing in these moleskins for over 10 years now.

I always have one handy. Ready to jot something down?

I hardly read them afterward. I usually use them to process what’s on my mind at that moment.

They offer a sense of reflection and meditation.

Writing can be an enjoyable experience in itself without having the extrinsic goal of making money or just transferring information.

It provides a disciplined mode of expression.

It allows one to record experiences and events so that they can be recalled in the future, boosting your memory.

It is a way to understand experiences. A self-communication that brings order to your experiences.

The blank page is like an affordable therapist. It’s the mirror that allows you to reflect your deepest thoughts without any judgment.

You can use it to evoke and let go of strong feelings, so you can show up better in the world.

“if the only point to writing were to transmit information, then it would deserve to become obsolete. But the point of writing it is to create information, not simply to pass it along.”

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Author of Flow

Use your words to understand the world within and around you.

3. Find your flow

Write to enjoy your life

Nothing brings more order to the chaos than naming something.

That’s why the word is so important.

Through naming and categorizing things, we could record, document, and experiment.

This is the basis of science.

We use these symbolic systems to think.

It is the foundation with which Pythagoras built up and connected art, geometry, science, music, and mathematics.

Developing symbolic systems brings order to the chaos and mastery of the pursuit can provide its own flow benefits.

We use it to understand the structure of our reality

Some of the great thinkers think for the pleasure of doing so.

Just like Democritus, the Greek philosopher, who enjoyed thinking about the structure of reality so much. Hippocrates, the great doctor said about him “He was not losing his mind. He was lost in the flow of thought.”

When the goal of writing is placed solely on the material reward, then it is not as pleasurable.

Writing and documenting enhance our optimal experiences. It puts us in a flow state that any form of creative activity does.

“It is important to stress here a fact that is all too often lost sight of: philosophy and science were invented and flourished because thinking is pleasurable”

~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Author of Flow

Write to find your flow and enjoy your life.

Final Thoughts

Writing and practicing gratitude is a happiness-boosting combo.

When you take a practice of gratitude and do it regularly through writing, you physically bring more clarity and joy to your life.

It’s a daily or weekly practice that you can throw into your mix. You can buy gratitude journals that will prompt you each day to write something you are grateful for.

Although things might be tough from the day-to-day, as long as you are alive there is always something to be grateful for.

Gratitude is a must.

Who is Nifemi?

Hey I’m Nifemi of NapoRepublic

I help busy people fit in a creative practice to bring to bring order to their reality and help them live a more meaningful life through writing and reflection.

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Know thyself, build a second brain, and unleash your creativity with writing. All in one journaling, note-taking, and dots-connection method that fits into your busy life.