The word “gratitude” is thrown around quite a bit. We see #blessed flooding our Instagram feeds, witness yoga teachers asking us to pinpoint areas of gratitude, and are approaching a holiday semi-dedicated to expressing thanks. And yet still so many of us struggle with cultivating gratitude. What’s the deal?
Like many things in life, gratitude is contagious. But that mindset goes both ways— complaining and negative thinking actually tend to breed more negative thoughts. In other words, once we get trapped in a spiral of “what ifs” and comparisons, it can be hard to get out. We’re not saying you shouldn’t have the occasional vent session about your co-worker’s annoying mansplaining tendencies with your BFF… But you might consider also finding a few things that inspire gratitude. Because just like negative thinking can spur a negative outlook, gratitude can inspire a positive one.
In some ways, gratitude is similar to yoga. It’s a practice. And practices require exactly that—you need to dedicate time and energy. To garner some inspiration on how to make gratitude a regular activity, we spoke to our go-to, gratitude guru, Miki Ash.
If you haven’t stopped by Miki Ash’s gorgeous, cacti-laden Instagram, it’s high-time you make a point to do so. Miki generated traction on social media by showcasing yoga poses, but has since transitioned to using the platform to share bits of wisdom, motivational mantras, and instructions for cultivating gratitude. We spoke to Miki about her personal gratitude routine in order to understand how she generates so much positivity. (Right away it’s clear this girl is authentic AF—which, let’s be honest, can sometimes be hard to find in the wellness industry.)
“Gratitude is my honey,” Miki explains. “It’s sweet and smooth and such a simple pleasure that brings me so much. It instantly turns everything I have into more than enough and transforms any kind of lack mentality into one of abundance.”
To keep this sort of mindset, Miki practices a few daily rituals. Replicate her routine or use it to inspire your own.
Daily Tips for Cultivating Gratitude
- Write in a journal every morning and declare how you want to feel that day. I use the 5 Minute Journal. This puts me in a “receiving mode” so that I can better attract my dreams and desires by taking subconscious and conscious steps toward choices that serve my ambitions.
- Go on a walk. Walking—with zero social media distraction—is a gateway to gratitude. I walk my dog in the morning, walk through my neighborhood, and mentally express gratitude for everything I can think of during the duration of the walk. It’s the perfect amount of time to set up your brain for positive thinking.
- If I’m having trouble expressing gratitude mentally, I’ll do it physically. This means sitting down and taking a moment to feel gratitude in every area of my body. I work my way up my body, beginning with my feet and working up toward the rest of my body, bones, and organs, until I reach the crown of my head. I can then find gratitude for my health, my wellbeing, and my senses. This is a great place to start if you’re feeling extra low!
- Next time you’re with a group of friends (or strangers), ask them to go around and say what they’re grateful for. This is something I do regularly and I am always so, so happy, surprised, and amazed at how open and appreciative people are for the inquiry.
- Still stuck? Repeat one of my favorite mantras below!I express gratitude for my health, for my wellbeing, for all of my senses.
I express gratitude for waking up this morning, healthy and free.
I express gratitude for family, friends, community, and self.
I express gratitude for where I live, for who I am, and for who I am becoming.
Remember: Gratitude makes everything more special. It connects you to where you are and who you are with and what you are doing. Make the time for this simple practice and truly reap the benefits.
Miki Ash is an artist, photographer, content creator, and yoga and meditation teacher. Find her via her website or through Instagram.
Amanda Kohr is the editor at Wanderlust. You can find her exploring new highways, drinking diner coffee, and on Instagram.