30 Days of Thankful: Day 9

Thanks for stopping by “30 Days of Thankful.”  I know you’ll love these practical tips from Sara Miller as much as I did!

GUEST BLOG:  Sara Miller

I’m an avid reader so it’s no surprise that I’ve been exposed to some great ideas through books I’ve recently read. There are so many wonderful books that explore and explain the concepts of happiness, contentment, joy, and gratitude.

The first book I read that opened my eyes to the practice of gratitude was One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Recently, while reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson I was surprised to be reminded that we can practice and experience happiness long before we “feel” happy. As Olson says, “It’s not something you pursue, it’s something you do.” He addresses a number of ways that we can “practice” happiness in our lives (calling them happy habits) and among them is gratitude.

Olson credits much of what he’s learned about happiness to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. Here’s the list of “happy habits” Achor and Olson share:

1 – Each morning, write down three things you’re grateful for. I’ve been doing this daily for several months (along with our family’s night-time ritual  and have found it to be a powerful part of starting the day off right! Note – the authors encourage you to find three NEW things each day, so I can’t just say coffee every morning, though I am tempted. J

2 – Journal for two minutes a day about one positive experience you’ve had in the past twenty-four hours. They note that writing down the details causes your brain to “re-experience” the experience and therefore double its positive impact. This is one I hope to begin practicing soon!

3 – Meditate daily. For me, this is a time of silence before prayer. I start my morning routine with a few minutes of intentional silence, allowing God to center me and help me focus on Him, before I rush into my to-do list for the day.

4 – Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. It can be as small as a quick email to let someone know I’m praying for them or baking cookies for our neighbors. I love being the recipient of acts of kindness and it’s even more rewarding to intentionally think of ways to bring other people joy.

5 – Exercise for fifteen minutes daily. This one has been a challenge! But, thanks to a friend and her recent fitness challenge, I’ve been inspired in this area too. It is amazing that working out for even a small period of time brings about gratitude for the ability to work out, a healthy body, the tools I need, the energy I’m given, and much more. Easy to do, and just as easy not to do, but what a difference in the end!

What “happy habits” are you practicing in your life each day?


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