How to Increase Gratitude in Your Life
Most of us spend a significant amount of time focusing on things that are not going well in our lives. At other times, we focus on what we don’t have and wished we had it. The reality is that as John Lennon once said, life is what happens to you while you are making other plans, or maybe wishing for other things.
Gratitude is a simple and yet extremely beneficial habit. Psychologists believe that gratitude is more than just saying thank you. In fact, gratitude is a positive emotion, a deeper appreciation for something or someone.
Why should you worry about gratitude? Why should you try to increase gratitude in your life? Research has shown that gratitude increases your happiness and well-being. It gives you a new perspective of what is truly important in your life. It guides you to what really matters in your life. By focusing on what is working in your life, and appreciating the simple things makes you more optimistic.
So what can you do to increase gratitude in your life?
Start focusing on the positive
Get in the habit of every time you feel overwhelmed with what you don’t have, or what is not working in your life, to stop and concentrate on the good and positive things you have in your life. It may be something as simple as a roof over your head, or your beautiful children. Even if you are going through times of trouble, there is always something positive you can focus on.
Start verbalizing your gratitude
If you are thankful for someone or something, try verbalizing it and letting that person know. Sometimes we get in auto-pilot with instant “thank you” replies that don’t truly mean anything. Start taking the time to truly thanking someone and meaning it. I’m a firm believer in paying forward. Do something nice to that person to show your appreciation.
Switch your frame of mind
When you start finding negative traits in a person, switch that thought in your mind and turn it into a positive trait. Sometimes it is important to look at things from a rational and not emotional stance. Be a little pragmatic and ask yourself, “What can I learn from this person/situation?”
Start a gratitude journal
You’ve probably heard Oprah rave about her gratitude journal. I’m also a big fan of gratitude journals. As a matter of fact, that’s how I started my gratitude habit. One of the things I love about gratitude journals is that it takes as little as one minute to just write down a few sentences or make a list of things you are thankful for. In the beginning, it might be a little hard to come up with many things to be thankful for. That’s because your brain has got used to focusing on the negative more than the positive in life. The more you practice writing down the things you are thankful for, the more you will recognize things to be grateful for. You can use any notebook as a gratitude journal, but I really love The One-Minute Gratitude Journal. It is perfect for me. It’s a small journal where you can write a few short sentences a day, and I love the inspirational quotes on each page.
And if all of that is not enough reason to increase gratitude in your life, remember that when you are feeling blue you can always go back a few pages on your journal and be reminded of all the special people you have in your life and that you are thankful for.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson