“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?
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