You may not know it, but gratitude is one of the most powerful and transformative forces you can use to change your life.
Gratitude changes your brain chemistry-it increases serotonin which helps you feel happier and more contented, dopamine which lifts your mood and makes you feel energized, and norepinephrine which lowers stress hormones. And that’s just the beginning! Gratitude reduces anxiety by lowering levels of cortisol in the body. It also has been shown to improve immune function because it boosts natural killer cells that fight cancerous cells.
And what’s even better about gratitude? It’s free! You don’t need any fancy equipment or expensive therapies-you just need a willingness to see the good in your life and to take the time to notice it.
But how can we be grateful if we feel like we don’t have anything to be grateful for? That’s where this article comes in: here are 10 ways that you can practice gratitude throughout each day!
Say thank you when someone helps you out
It’s so easy to take all the help that we get for granted. It makes me sad when I see how many people say “you’re welcome,” automatically without really meaning it-it seems like they are just trying to be polite instead of actually thanking the person who helped them. Instead of saying “you’re welcome,” make sure to take a minute and tell people how much you appreciate what they did for you (and even if they don’t hear you, it will still mean a lot to them).
Be grateful for something before bed each night
This is one of the most powerful ways to feel more grateful throughout the day. Before you go to sleep, sit down with a pen and paper (or your phone!) and write down five things that you are grateful for. You can choose anything-you can list things like “I’m so glad I have my cat to cuddle with at night,” or “the stars look beautiful tonight,” or “my best friend tells me I’m special every day.” As long as it makes you feel good to think about it, then it counts! This is an amazing way to practice gratitude because your subconscious will remember these thoughts while you are sleeping. And if they are on your mind before bed…they are likely to be on your mind throughout the day!
Think about what you are grateful for during your commute
I know it can be frustrating when you get stuck in traffic, but instead of trying to figure out how much longer you have to sit there, pick something that you are grateful for. It could be anything-even the fact that you were able to afford a car or that someone invented cars so that we can drive where we need to go! Gratitude is all about shifting your perspective, and I guarantee getting stuck in traffic will look less stressful if you take a second to see everything from another angle.
Say thank you after each meal
When was the last time you thanked the person who made your food? Next time you are eating out, make sure to say thank you for the meal-it could be your waiter or waitress, it could be the person who cooked your food, or even the cashier at a drive through. Take a minute to think about how many steps there are between growing the food and making it into something that you can eat, and you will understand just how much work goes into feeding us!
Give thanks for the air you breathe
This one might sound a little strange, but think about it-air is something that we often take for granted. We don’t think twice about inhaling and exhaling, but if we didn’t have air we would die. So the next time you are feeling grateful, take a second to think about how amazing it is that you can breathe!
Be mindful of how many amazing things there are in your life
Whenever you start feeling upset or stressed out, take a second to be mindful of all the amazing things in your life. For example-you might look at the colorful leaves on a tree and think about how beautiful they are; or you might think about all the food that was prepared for dinner and be thankful for how delicious it was. The key with this tip is just to be mindful of how lucky we are!
Tell your family and friends how much you appreciate them
This is another one that is so easy to put off, but it’s so important to do! We all take our families and friends for granted sometimes, and it’s not until we lose them that we realize just how much they mean to us. Next time you are with them, take a few minutes to tell them how much you appreciate them. And don’t just save this for holidays-tell them every day if you can!
Leave a kind note for someone
This one is so simple, but it can make someone’s day. Next time you see a kind note, take a second to think about who would appreciate it the most. It could be your best friend, your partner, or even a stranger! Just make sure that the sentiment comes from the heart, and write something that will make the person feel good.
Volunteer your time to help someone in need
When we help others, it feels good inside. Next time you are feeling down, volunteer your time to help someone who is less fortunate than you are. It could be anything from sorting through donations at a local charity to helping out at an animal shelter. There are so many ways to help out, and you can do just about anything if you put your mind to it!
Keep a gratitude journal
I know that this one might sound a little strange, but try it for a few days. Every night before bed write down three things that made you feel grateful that day-they could be big or small! This is an amazing way to keep track of all the amazing things in your life because after writing them down I guarantee that you will notice even more right away.