“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.” – Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go
Although research shows that gratitude makes people happier and more positive, many of us still tend to save our thank you’s exclusively for birthdays and holidays.
To reap the full benefits of a thankful outlook, however, gratitude needs to be in integral part of our everyday lives. Want to make counting your blessings more of a habit and less of an afterthought? Try one of these.
4 Ways to be More Grateful Today
1. Start a gratitude journal.
It’s one thing to say you’re going to be more grateful; putting it into practice is another thing entirely. Writing in a gratitude journal is an easy way to be more intentional about expressing appreciation for the good in your life.
The key to success is to jot down what you’re thankful for regularly—aim for once a day—and to be as specific as possible.
For example, instead of merely noting that you’re thankful for your child, say that you’re grateful his recent illness cleared up quickly or that she did well on that test at school she was so nervous about.
2. Get involved.
Giving back is a great way to develop and express your gratitude for the blessings in your life. Choose a cause you’re especially passionate about—anything from cancer research to hungry children to saving the rainforests—and then get active in making a difference.
There are countless ways to become involved: Volunteer to write an article for a nonprofit’s newsletter, make a financial donation, or raise awareness about the issue through social media.
When you foster a greater appreciation for those in the world who are struggling, it helps you keep your own situation in perspective.
3. Share your gratitude with others.
Once you start building gratitude into your everyday life, you’ll grow increasingly aware of the many small blessings you usually take for granted: your partner unloading the dishwasher, your co-worker pushing back your deadline, or that stranger holding the door for you as you juggle ten bags of groceries.
You probably say “thank you” in passing for these small acts of kindness, but try taking your gratitude to the next level.
Surprise your partner with a small gift, hand-write a thank-you note to your co-worker, and give that stranger an extra wide smile. Expressing your gratitude in genuine, heartfelt ways will not only make the other person’s day, but will also make you feel happier.
4. Stop comparing.
One of the main reasons we forget to feel grateful is that we’re too busy being envious of others.
We focus our attention on what we don’t have and lose sight of the many wonderful things right in front of us. Next time you find yourself playing the comparison game—grumbling about how much bigger your friend’s house is or about how much easier your colleague’s job is—stop and remind yourself that no matter what your situation is, there will always be someone who is better off and someone who is worse off.
Focusing on your own life, instead of being occupied by what other people have, will help you build up a more grateful attitude.
If you’re looking to stop taking your blessings for granted and start cultivating gratitude, try integrating one or all of these four tips into your everyday life.
The words “thank you” will take on a whole new meaning, and in no time you’ll find yourself feeling happier, more positive, and truly appreciative of the good in your life.
How do you cultivate gratitude in your everyday life?
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I’d be honored if you shared it with others!
19 responses to “4 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Everyday Life”
I keep a gratitude journal actually and I try do little things for my loved ones to let them know how much I appreciate them. Great ideas in your post, will be tweeting later!
It’s just a matter of shifting the perspective to seeing the incredible in each moment.
Last week as I hung out in the bathroom, stomach flu-ing it away, I thought about how grateful I was that…
1. I hadn’t eaten more.
2. I was able to overcome my fears of puking.
3. My hub works from home.
4. It was a rainy day.
5. My hub and daughter were sick the day before, so I was able to care for them and vice versa.
Gratitude is a gift. It’s fun. It’s continuous. Sometimes I’ll ask myself, “for what am I grateful now?” when a moment is tough.
For me, it frees me from the ick, so I embrace it fully!
As always, I love, love, love your perspective, Wendy!
Definitely want to work on not comparing! That’s a big thorn in my side and prevents me from contentment and gratitude.
Life really is all about perspective. My dad always says the receiving is in the giving. So true. Sharing your gratitude with others is really my personal favorite. Bonus: Expressing gratitude can also help another person feel grateful themselves.
So true! Your dad sounds like a wise man.
I am sharing this! So many of my friends need to hear this – especially # 4! Thank you for sharing – really – thank YOU! XO
Yes! Not only do I make an effort to keep a gratitude journal, I make an effort to live my gratitude. I have spent a lot of time learning when I need to reframe a thought and I often use gratitude. Then I make a point to express that gratitude verbally to someone – send a thank you to someone who has touched me or done me a kindness. Or more importantly, acknowledge my husband and children for their efforts or let them know I am grateful for something they did. For me, there can never be enough focus on gratitude.
Agreed, Tara. “Live my gratitude.” That phrase is going to stick with me.
These are great Katie! I also think comparing can ignite gratitude- as we realize how blessed we are with what we have. I just shared a post about this very thing…
Great post Katie. You have a new fan! You are so correct about each one of these especially the comparing yourself to others. Thanks for the reminders!
Glad the post resonated with you!
Wonderful post, Katie, and so true. I started a gratitude journal after reading Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, but have neglected it for a while. Thanks for this reminder, because it really made a difference in my attitude when I was writing those things down and focusing on them.
I need to read that book!
I’ve never made a gratitude journal, but it seems like something I’ve always wanted to do.
Sharing my gratitude with others is always a big deal, though. It’s a game changer.
I don’t keep a journal, but when I’m feeling down or annoyed, I think about what I should be grateful for instead. My daughter is driving me crazy? I remind myself that she is home with me, healthy, and full of sass.
Pregnancy has definitely given me a great and humbling lesson in being grateful and not comparing myself to others. Yes, I was sick – but never on bed rest or in need of hospitalization. Yes, my body had new physical limits on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis, but I was glad that I recognized and respected the signs to slow down. Yes, some women are near their families when expecting, but I have an amazing network of friends and military families while we are posted across the country.
Thanks for the reminder that there is always something to be grateful for!
Oh yes. It seems like I re-learn how much I need gratitude week after week. When my heart is dragging, a gratitude practice is one of the surest things to pick it up. Thanks for these sweet reminders, Katie!
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