It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’ll be 29 years old. I have a lot of mixed feelings about my birthday but every year, I try to do some sort of birthday-ish post to mark the occasion. It’s usually something like, “what I’ve learned this last year” or a bucket list for the coming year but this year, the most relevant thing I could think to write about was gratitude.

Gratitude is an almighty powerful thing to have in your toolbox. It can help lift your spirits, get you out of a funk and even make those days where you feel dragged down by depression that little bit lighter.

I’m not saying it’s some sort of miracle cure, like if you start practicing gratitude then your depression will be cured forever – yay. But from my own experience, it’s a wonderful thing to practice, build on and implement into your days. And yes, it does make things seem that little brighter.

Over the last 18 months in particular, gratitude is a practice I’ve been leaning on heavily. Which I think is probably the case for a lot of people. And on the approach to my birthday this year, I felt like I needed to lean in a little more to that practice than usual.

Birthdays are weird. I don’t particularly like them and the fact that I’m 29 tomorrow is making me feel increasingly uncomfortable. So what else is there to do than try and take my mind off it and pretend it isn’t happening, right?

Related read: How I’d Celebrate My Birthday If Money Was No Object

Before I talk about some of the things I’ve been particularly grateful for recently, here are some fun and easy ways that YOU can introduce a gratitude practice into your every day!

Identify them when you’re going about your day

To express gratitude, you don’t even have to DO anything if you don’t want to. That’s the beauty of it – it’s the easiest practice in the world. Taking time to practice being present and mindful in your every day life will open up your mind to noticing those small things you’re grateful for, whilst in the midst of them.

Say them out loud in the morning or evening 

Another super duper simple thing to do is just say them out loud. If you have a God or a spiritual practice, then you might want to say them directly to your higher power. Or say them to yourself in the mirror. Or say them to your boyfriend. Just shout them out into the world!

Write down 3 things you’re grateful for every night

If shouting them out isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. Simply writing them down is just as effective. I try and stick to writing 3 things down every evening – but if you have more, then go for more. There’s no limit on how much you can be grateful for each day.

Create a gratitude jar 

This is a fun idea if you want to get a little more creative with expressing gratitude. You can get mega creative in designing your jar and even the paper that you write on. Write down a couple of gratitudes every day and pop them in your jar, then at the end of the week, month or year, you can look back on them all!

Or this is also a great idea for when you feel down or low. Having that gratitude jar handy can allow you to just pluck one out when you need a little reminder of all the good and magical things in your life.

Incorporate them into your daily rituals 

Whether you prefer to say them or write them, incorporating them into your daily routines and rituals is a great way to ensure you do the practice every day and keep it up, in order to get the benefits from it. Perhaps add it into your morning or evening routine. Or if you have a special spiritual practice, make some time within that.

Meditate on them 

This is a really powerful way to express gratitude and I love doing this once a week, usually during my Sunday night routine. If you’re doing a quiet meditation (to no sound or relaxing music), spend a few minutes at the start going over what you’re grateful for in your head and really tuning in to the feelings of them.

Now because it’s my birthday tomorrow, I wanted to share some things that I’m particularly grateful for at the moment. I feel like birthdays are a great time to reflect on things like this and not only that, it might make my birthday induced depression a little better.

The Walking Dead

Arguably a bit of a weird one to start with but I’m really into TV series and a good show can really help my mental health by allowing me to get lost in another world for a while. I’m currently watching The Walking Dead and that’s definitely doing it for me at the moment. I have watched it before but only got to season 4, so no spoilers please!

My Dog

I mean, anyone with a dog will understand this one. My dog makes me feel better every single day. When I’m sad, giving him a little stroke and a pet can lift my spirits. He makes me laugh on days where I want to do anything but laugh and he’s just the best. I love him so much and I’m so grateful he’s been in my life for 11 years.

The NHS & Being Vaccinated

I’m super grateful for being vaccinated (well, right now I’m only half vaccinated but I’ll be fully vaccinated by next week – yay!) and for the NHS. I’ve had to have some repeat cervical screenings over the last few years for HPV and I’m grateful for the amazing free service they provide us to help save our lives. As well as all the work they’ve done over the course of the pandemic. I don’t know how we can thank them enough.

Journaling

I started journaling again this year in around April when I was going through a particularly dark bout of depression and it really helped me get my thoughts and feelings in order. I’ve been keeping it up since and journaling as and when I need to and it’s become a wonderful coping mechanism for me when I need it.

Family (even those not related by blood)

I’ve come to learn the importance of family even more over the last year and I’m grateful for the people in my life that I can call family, even my boyfriend’s family who have welcomed me in with open arms. Spending quality time with family is going to be a huge thing for me going forward.

I’m going to leave it there for this one. I’m sure I could go on forever about what I’m grateful for but now I’d like to hear from you! What are you grateful for right now? Let me know in the comments!

45 Comments

  1. I hope you had a lovely birthday. Instead of a gratitude jar I use a gratitude journal. But that is such a good idea. I did something similar in previous years where I wrote one positive thing from each day. Thank you for sharing your suggestions and what you are grateful for.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl.com

  2. happy late birthday jenny!! this world is a better place because of your life & what you’ve done with it <3 i wish you many more years of it, full of health, happiness, and love. gratitude is so directly connected to our general happiness and state of mind. while it's certainly not a cure-all, it is usually true that a grateful person is a happy person, like my dad has always said x

  3. Hope you have a fab birthday! Writing down what you appreciate is a really great way of making you feel more positive about life as well 😊

  4. Happy Birthday!!! I love these. Gratitude is becoming more important these days and I’m glad more people recognize that.

    Congratulations on starting TWD. I love that show! I can’t wait until you catch up and hopefully they’ll be another blog post where we can discuss it.

  5. I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Your images are stunning as well – I’m so used to using Snapchat to take pictures to override not having any memory on my phone that I forget I have a new phone with more memory and fancy cameras, you’ve definitely inspired me to try them out! Gratitude is so important – I bought a Gratitude journal but I’m terrible at filling it in. Since returning to blogging/social media I had the idea of doing a Thoughtful Thursday surrounding gratitude every Thursday but I probably won’t start this until next week 🙂

  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you have a lovely day and are surrounded by all the things you love and cherish. I really like this post. I am fully vaccinated and am also grateful for the NHS as they’ve helped my family so much recently. Taking the time to slow down and appreciate the little things is so important. Thank you for the reminder 🙂 xx

  7. I love this. I have to admit that gratitude and just being in the present moment is something that I need to get a lot better at, and this is leaving me feeling really inspired. You’ve picked some great things to highlight – and I love that something as simple as a TV show can make the list.

  8. Firstly a huge Happy birthday to you for tomorrow lovely lady, I hope it is a day full of love and happiness for you.

    Secondly, what a lovely list of things to be grateful for. I agree about the dog one, I don’t have ne but I swear I get the same lovely feeling you describe when I have been with a dog for about 0.2 seconds! I can see why therapy dogs are such a good idea.

    These are great ways to practice gratitude and I think it’s so important to make time for it every day x

  9. Oh I really love this idea for your birthday! The idea of a gratitude jar is something I would love to start, mostly on the days when you don’t feel it, I think it would be such a great pick me up! Honestly grateful for being vaccinated too, my sisters and family are all well, our cat, hope you have an amazing day tomorrow xx

  10. Belated happy birthday! I think this is a lovely idea – gratitude is really good for our wellbeing and helps us feel less anxious, more connected to our loved ones and more in control of our lives. But I confess that I’m not always great at remembering to practice gratitude every day! I’m going to try your gratitude jar idea – thank you for the suggestion! x

  11. Happy Birthday for tomorrow! I turn 29 next month! I love the idea of a gratitude jar, it would definitely be great to look back on especially on a rainy day. Thanks for sharing these!

    Soffy

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