Gratitude is not just a nice word. Research has shown that gratitude is one of the most important emotional skills, and can be cultivated even with practice. A recent study found that more grateful people have higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, self-esteem, social support, physical health – and are also less likely to feel lonely or depressed.
Grateful people also sleep better. And they’re nicer to other people too! So how do you build up your gratitude muscles? Here are 10 Ways To Increase Gratitude for every day!
Remember the little things
A lot of the time, we forget to be grateful for the smallest things in life. If you’re having a bad day, try thinking about what you can be thankful for – like your breath, or how nice it is to sit on solid ground. You can also think about little things that make your day better, like that first cup of tea or coffee, or how nice it is to sleep in your bed.
Practicing gratitude like this will help you remember to stay grateful for these little things more often. So make sure you notice when you are doing these activities, and give yourself a little pat on the back for being so great!
Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a great way to remember all the things you’re grateful for. You can write in it daily, and try to find at least five things that you’re grateful for every time. Writing about your feelings and what you’re thankful for help make them seem more “real,” which can help you be more happy and grateful.
Keeping a gratitude journal can also help you find more things to be grateful for in your life. When you look back on what you’ve written, you’ll see all the wonderful things that have happened and what a great time you had writing about them! This brings us to our next point.
Write a letter of thanks
Writing a letter of thanks is another great way to practice gratitude. You can write letters of thanks for the big things, like when your friend helps you move into your new apartment, or when someone is nice to you at work. Or you can write about the little things in life, like how grateful you are for the delicious meal you had at your favorite restaurant.
You can even write a letter of thanks to yourself, or to someone you know who needs some gratitude and support. Make sure and mark it “to be opened when needed,” if that would make them feel better. They will be so happy when they get to read your nice words and know that they’re not alone in the world!
Weed out the negative
One of the best ways to make yourself grateful is by removing things from your life that you don’t need. Think about all those extra clothes in your closet, or how nice it would be to get rid of that old car and buy a new one. If you can’t afford something nicer just yet, try cutting out some other expenses that aren’t as important so you can save up.
Eliminating negative elements from your life will help you focus on all the great things you can do and buy once those unneeded items are gone. You’ll even have room to bring new people into your life – like a new best friend or a new kitten – who will help fill your life with even more gratitude!
Practice a random act of kindness
Sometimes it can be hard to see the good in the world, especially if you’re going through a rough time. But helping other people is a great way to feel grateful! So try being kind and helpful to others – give someone who looks lonely a smile, or let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store.
If you don’t know what to do, there are lots of great websites for finding random acts of kindness that you can join and participate in. Getting involved with these communities will help you feel more connected to the world around you, which will make it easier to be grateful for all the good things happening every day!
Focus on the positive
Did you know that when people think about negative things, they can often remember even more bad things than good ones? This is just the way our brains work – we tend to focus on what’s wrong with a situation instead of what’s right. So try and find something good in every situation.
If you’re having a bad day, think of at least three good things that happened to you that day. If you’re having a hard time with something, focus on just one thing that needs improvement and ignore all the other aspects of the situation for now. It can be hard at first, but thinking about the positive instead of the negative will help you focus on what’s good and ultimately make you feel more grateful!
Give thanks every morning and night
Saying “thank you” to someone or something in your life is a great way to practice gratitude. You don’t need to wait until someone does something for you to give them thanks – just being thankful in your head is enough. Try saying “thank you” out loud or writing a list of all the people and things that deserve thanks every morning when you wake up, and then at night before you go to bed.
If it helps, try using affirmations, which are positive statements that you say to yourself to feel better about your life. Saying affirmations will help you think about the things you’re thankful for all day long!
Don’t forget to say “sorry”
It’s normal for friends and family members to get mad at each other, but it can sometimes be hard to apologize when you’re in the wrong. Being able to say “I’m sorry” is a good way of practicing gratitude – after all, if they were willing to forgive you this time, that means you’re very lucky to have someone who cares about you in your life.
If it’s hard for you to apologize, try writing a letter or email instead. You can delete the message after sending it if you want, but writing what you need to say down on paper might make it easier for you to apologize in person later!
Capture the small things you love
If there’s something in your life that warms your heart, try to capture it on camera! A lot of people have a hard time being grateful for what they have because they’re so used to it – like their favorite chair or the view out their window. The more you do something, like look at a certain view, the more you’ll take it for granted.
So whenever you’re feeling a little down, pull out your phone and scroll through old photos of things that have brought a smile to your face. You can also make a scrapbook or video of your memories by putting together clips from all your photo albums – it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon and will help you feel more grateful for all of your favorite things!
Be mindful of the present moment
It’s easy to get caught up in your thoughts about the future or reminisce about memories from the past, but you must remember what is happening right now! If you’re thinking about how great things were when you were five years old or how terrible it is that your favorite TV show has been canceled, you’re missing out on what is going on in your life right now.
Every day, try to pay attention to the present moment and find gratitude where you can. If you’re eating a meal with your family, focus on the conversation instead of what’s for dinner tomorrow night – it’s not always easy, but mindfulness will help you be grateful for what you have right in front of you, which is a very important step to being grateful overall!
Gratitude is an important part of being happy with your life – it’s hard to be grateful for the things you have when you’re always thinking about what you don’t have. If you’re having a hard time feeling grateful, try practicing some simple exercises daily that will help you find more gratitude in your life.
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