You can’t expect yourself to experience gratitude for everything in your life but you can find it in every moment. How? It takes a split second to pause and go inward to find something specific to appreciate. Even a simple thing you feel grateful for can lead you to feel happier in your life. When you change your lens in this way you change your reality. Gratitude delivers the immediate feedback of joy.
As much as we would like to always feel happy, happiness is temporary and it is usually conditional. Happiness is often a reaction to something but gratitude is more of a choice. It is more stable than happiness and fortunately, it can lead to happiness. Gratitude decimates the mindless but very human habit of ”taking-things-for-granted” where we discount all the things we do have by only focusing on what we still want or even worse, by focusing on what we lack. It is easy to forget to feel grateful but rituals help to structure it. Practice gratitude and it gets stronger.
- Try beginning your morning with gratitude to prime yourself for the best day possible. It will boost your resilience and help you face whatever challenges come your way.
- Keep a gratitude journal or list. Write down a few things you are grateful for each day or each week. By keeping track of specific things to be grateful for during the day you wind up strengthening your lens for gratitude.
- Notice and value the simple pleasures in life. There are so many like the aroma of coffee brewing or how nice a warm mug of hot chocolate feels in your hands. A sun setting or flowers opening. Appreciate laughter or a small act of kindness. They all qualify. The more specific and varied the better.
Develop a low threshold for experiencing gratefulness. Be open to it. When it overflows within you it affects others too. Feelings of gratitude basically start a ripple effect of good. The impulse to share your good feelings with others has been linked to happier moods, greater optimism and even better physical health. Gratitude even improves our heart health. Research shows it can slow our heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Feeling grateful and expressing gratitude are distinct. To get the maximum emotional reward you will want to do both. Expressing gratitude to others in your life can help strengthen those relationships. It reminds us how valuable they are. You feel less alone, more connected, and happier. Gratitude sustains the social bonds that are the key to our happiness and to our survival as humans.
People feeling grateful are more likely to help others who request assistance. It triggers acts of kindness and selflessness. Studies show that those who had received help themselves devoted more time to helping others. When we receive a gift, gratitude motivates us to pay it forward.
Expressing gratitude doesn’t take a lot of time but it’s one of the most beautiful gifts you can give yourself. It brings your attention into the present and is life-affirming. So count your blessings each day and thank you for reading this post!