5 Ways to Wake Up With Gratitude
This seems like such a simple thing to do, to wake up with gratitude. Yet for so many of us, starting our day with gratitude isn’t always easy. Imagine how different our world would be if everyone woke up with gratitude instead of frustration, dissatisfaction, complacency, or any other negative emotion. The first few minutes of every day are what sets us up for success and creates the tone for the day.
How can we choose gratitude when we first wake up?
My personal gratitude practice has grown over the years to including writing in a gratitude journal and most recently, a focus on waking up with gratitude. When I first committed to a daily gratitude practice, it was after hearing Shawn Achor speak live about the power of our habits. He taught us how to shift our mood in 21 days and I chose gratitude as my key strategy. Since then, I’ve learned so much about the benefits of leading a grateful life. I believe that when we wake up with gratitude it can completely change our lives.
When we are faced with challenges in our lives, it’s harder to wake up with gratitude. This is why it’s best to create these habits BEFORE you need them. Once we have the habit of being grateful, we can more easily use these strategies to help us when things aren’t going well. I invite you to start today with at least one of these strategies to help you when that time comes.
Here are my FIVE favorite strategies to wake up with gratitude:
1. Choose powerful words to wake up with.
Take a sticky note and post it beside your bed. Write ‘I wake up with gratitude’ on the note or another phrase that reminds you to be thankful first thing. I learned this habit from Pam Grout in her book, Thank & Grow Rich: A 30-Day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy . She shares that starting your day by proclaiming that it’s going to be an amazingly awesome day is the first step to creating more magic in our lives.
By choosing a phrase that reminds us to be grateful, we immediately set our thoughts in the right direction for the day. It’s critical to start with positive thoughts as soon as we wake up. According to The Teachings of Abraham, it’s the first 17 seconds of our day that creates momentum for the rest of the day. When we start our day with gratitude as soon as we open our eyes, this helps us with our gratitude practices for the rest of day.
2. Change the name of your alarm.
Are you using your phone as your alarm? First, I recommend that you turn your phone to airplane mode before you go to sleep. Our phones can be very distracting and the last thing we want is to start our day with negative news on social media. Second, change the name of your alarm to ‘I wake up with gratitude.’ That way, you are reminded to give thanks as soon as you look at your phone.
3. Find a few moments of stillness.
Before getting out of bed, lie still for a minute and give thanks for all the automatic processes that are keeping you alive. Pay attention to your heartbeat and your pulse, giving thanks that it’s kept you alive all night. If you must answer the call of nature first, get right back into bed after to do this. Or give thanks for your body’s elimination processes.
This is a great time for a gratitude meditation. Download your favorite morning gratitude meditation on to your phone (remember, it’s on airplane mode). Grab your earbuds and listen before you start your day. Need a gratitude meditation? I’ve created one that you can download here.
4. Write 3 morning blessings in your journal.
These can be anything at all, just write them down. I write three short notes, as I choose to write in more detail in my gratitude journal before bed. Keep a notebook and pen beside your bed so that it’s easy to do. This can also be done in a note on your phone - a reminder to do this before you take your phone off airplane mode!
5. Say a prayer of thanks.
Saying a prayer of thanks is a wonderful way to wake up with gratitude. I spend several moments on my knees every morning, thanking God for this gift of another day. Praying for others is also a wonderful daily practice, and helps to keep important friends and family in our hearts.
Does all of this seem overwhelming? At first, it might be a challenge to start with these new habits. What I have found is that once you’ve created one new habit, it’s easier to add a second or a third. Now it takes me less than 10 minutes to complete these each morning.
This I can promise you: Commit to one of these for the next 30 days, and you’ll wake up with gratitude in no time at all.