All across the web, we encounter articles and lists urging us to become more successful. While some of this content can be helpful, most of it takes for granted that we all similarly define “success.” Sure, we need resources to survive and thrive. But what about the many other elements of an enriching and fulfilling life? In particular, what good is our material gain if we have not cultivated daily practices that enhance and expand our sense of generosity and gratitude? Here are 8 daily practices of generosity and gratitude that take only a little investment and yet the pay off can be life-changing.
Generosity in the Digital Age
We are all connected in previously unimaginable ways. However, even a casual glance at the dreaded Internet “comments section” demonstrates how our digital connections don’t always result in generosity. To be a giver means more than likes and shares or color-coded profile pictures. Quite often, it means doing something more face-to-face. But whether IRL or online, generosity is intended to describe a selfless act.
As the inimitable Fred “Mister” Rogers once stated: “I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.”
Gratitude in the Digital Age
Our devices have the power to extract us from the present moment. When we are not present, gratitude is hard to find. Gratitude lives in each moment — in the here and now. It is a counterbalance to the allure of social media notifications. It is an antidote to the notorious “fear of missing out (FOMO).”
8 Daily Practices of Generosity & Gratitude
1. Start Each Day With Intention
There is so much we cannot control. Our greatest power, therefore, lies in controlling what we can. Set an intention for each day. Take responsibility for yourself, your feelings, and your responses to others. Strive to make your time and energy count.
2. Take Tech Breaks
Again, our devices can shatter our most generous and grateful tendencies. Schedule deliberate breaks to be present in our own life — and the lives of others.
3. Pay Attention
The poet Mary Oliver reminds us: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” Your attention may be the greatest gift you can bestow on anyone. It is also the lens through which you recognize for whom you and to what you show gratitude.
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Don’t leave things to chance. Keep a daily journal of the things that make you feel grateful.
5. Ask Others If and How You Can Help
Helping is not about what we think others need. It’s about letting them guide us to be generous.
6. Pledge to Listen More and Listen Better
A version of paying attention, listening is a gift. Increase your listening time. Hone your listening skills.
7. Get Involved in Volunteer Efforts — Or Create Your Own!
There are so many helpers out there. Get involved. If you can’t find a group doing what you wish to do, create a new group! There is always a need – so stretch and give of your time, talents or both.
8. End Each Day By Choosing a “Headline”
Before you fall asleep, mentally “write” a headline to describe the highlights of your day. Honor your efforts and pledge to do more tomorrow.
How to Tap Into Your Generosity & Gratitude
None of us are immune to daily stresses and pressures of modern life. There is no shame in asking for help with our emotional growth. Working with a therapist provides us with such an opportunity. Frequently, we may be our own worst enemy when it comes to cultivating daily practices. Your counselor is like an unbiased guide offering another set of eyes — experienced and trained eyes.
Together, you can identify behavioral patterns that hamper your growth. From there, new approaches are created and tried out. This process of discussion, followed by trial and error, is a proven path toward personal evolution and fulfillment.
Please contact me today if you’re ready to begin this journey toward a more fulfilled life. Or, visit my page on heart disease and depression counseling to learn more.