Practicing gratitude on a daily basis can significantly increase your happiness and protect you from stress, negativity, and anxiety. There are many things to be grateful for, if we only look in the right light, so here are ten ways to be grateful for the blessings and the lessons in your life.
“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” – Margaret Cousins
To be grateful, we must cultivate self-awareness. Without exercise, our mind tends to cling to negativity and dismiss the positive aspects of life, even if there’s only a drop of negative in an ocean of positive. By being aware of our thoughts, we can intentionally choose to focus on the good parts of our day and the positive aspects of our life.When you're thankful every day, your life becomes blessed beyond measure. Click To Tweet
There are so many things to be thankful for and so many ways to be grateful for them. Here are ten.
10 Ways to Be Grateful More Often, on Purpose
1. Write in a gratitude journal.
Keep a journal that’s dedicated to the positive aspects of your life that you’re grateful for. Jot down 3-10 things you’re thankful for today. Since relationships are a big factor in happiness, focus on giving thanks for people in your life.
You can write in your journal at night or in the morning. Find a time that works for you. If you tend to be exhausted at night, schedule your gratitude in the morning instead.
2. Create a gratitude jar.
You can work this gratitude practice more than one way.
One option: Each time you experience a moment of gratitude, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. You can empty the jar (all at once or one piece of paper at a time) on New Year’s Eve/Day, on a special holiday or your birthday, or on days you need a little pick-me-up.
When good things happen, this practice makes the moment more meaningful and keeps you on the lookout for more things to be grateful for.
Another option is to schedule a day (a special day or whenever you choose) to sit down and write all the reasons life is beautiful, one for each piece of paper. You can write 365 things, and draw from the jar every day of the year, or you can take it one month at a time (writing 28-31 love notes to pull from during that month).
The second option may take a little more thought, time, and energy initially, but it might work better for you (it works well for me).
3. Write a gratitude letter.
Chances are there is someone who has had a positive impact on your life whom you’ve not properly thanked. Write them a heartfelt letter detailing why you’re grateful for their presence in your life. Send it via snail mail or schedule a visit when you can read it out loud to them in person.
Chances are the kind gesture will be appreciated more than you can imagine.Gratitude is said to be the memory of the heart. – Joseph F. Smith Click To Tweet
4. Host a gratitude night.
This could be the time you’ve scheduled with that person who you’ve made the focus of your gratitude letter. Meet your loved one in person, and don’t tell them why you’d like to see them. Surprise them with your letter, a written speech, their favorite meal, or any other unexpected gift of gratitude.
This gratitude practice was introduced to me in Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness, where students were assigned to bring someone to class (without that person being aware of why they were attending the class) and deliver an informal speech to this person explaining why they were grateful for them.
The results of Seligman’s in-class research were astounding, with plenty of happy tears filling the classroom, and the feel-good sentiments lasting well beyond that night.
5. Share your blessings at family meals.
Share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table, or whenever your family gathers for meals. Every person at the table can share at least one good thing from their day before enjoying their meal.
It’s a great tradition that will likely spark positive conversations, which may give you even more reasons to give thanks.
6. Set up visual reminders.
Two obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness. Visual reminders can serve your happiness by triggering thoughts and feelings of deep gratitude.
Here are a few ways you can remind yourself of the things you’re thankful for:
- Create a gratitude charm bracelet, with each charm representing something or someone you’re grateful for.
- Create a gratitude board, a variation of an inspiration board, which can feature pictures of loved ones or loving memories, event/plane tickets, favorite quotes, and other meaningful mementos.
- If you have young children, you may appreciate the idea of making painted “thankful rocks” which can help cultivate the quality of gratitude at an early age.
- Make a written list of things and people you’re grateful for, and look at it every day. A notebook, chalkboard, or an app on your phone will all work.
Visual cues can help condition you to be constantly aware of the things in your life that you’re grateful for. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something you see every day.
7. Shift your perspective.
Painful and stressful times are the very times we need to practice gratitude.
When things don’t go your way, use gratitude to shift into a higher perspective. Remember that within every difficulty lies a possibility of an equal or greater benefit.
The hard times you’re experiencing now (or have experienced in the past) carry a lesson and a blessing of some sort, however disguised and unclear at the time.
Ask yourself what you can learn from your troubles. Ask yourself if you’re willing to be open to the possibility that, just maybe, something good can come out of this. How can you benefit from this? What can you learn? Remember that you can’t possibly know everything right now, and that’s okay.
8. Imagine regaining what you already have.
Imagine losing some of the things in your life that you might currently take for granted. Such things could be your home, any of your five senses, your car, your job, or anything that brings you comfort and stability.
Next, imagine getting these things back, one at a time. Relish in the feeling of how thankful you would be to have each thing back again.
Through this practice, we can remember how blessed we already are with what we have. It is a miracle to be alive, never mind to be able to read, see, write, smell, taste, have functioning body parts, and have a place to live. If you have something to lose, you are blessed.Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have. Click To Tweet
9. Use grateful language.
Grateful people are aware of the language they use. Consciously choose words such as blessings, blessed, beautiful, fortunate, thankful, abundance, gifts, and joys. Use your language to focus on the inherently good things that have either been done for you or happened to you.
If something unpleasant and uncomfortable occurs, remember that the light is always entangled in the dark—love is present in everything, and what we label as “good” and “bad” are based merely on interpretation.Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens. Click To Tweet
10. Make a vow to practice gratitude.
Making an oath to perform an action increases the likelihood that the action will be taken. Use affirmations to reinforce your grateful thoughts and turn them into acts of gratitude.
Just by saying “I am grateful,” you’re vowing to prioritize peace and seek the light in any given situation.
In meditation, try using these mantras for gratitude.
- What are you thankful for today?
- How do you stay grateful every day?
- How has your gratitude opened your life up to more happiness and peace?
Please share your thoughts, appreciation, helpful personal practices, lessons learned in gratitude and joy, and any inspiring or healing stories with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who has so much to be grateful for.
With so much love and gratitude,