Many of us probably think of gratitude as ‘thinking ourselves lucky’ as there’s ‘always someone worse off’…
But there’s much more to it!
How often do you really count your blessings?
Actually practicing gratitude can be a game-changer: it has far reaching effects, from improving our mental health to boosting our relationships with others. Living your life with gratitude helps you notice the little wins – like the bus showing up right on time, a stranger holding the door for you, or the sun shining through your window when you wake up in the morning. Each of these small moments strings together to create a web of well-being that, over time, strengthens your ability to notice the good.
Building your capacity for gratitude isn’t difficult. It just takes practice. The more you can bring your attention to that which you feel grateful for, the more you’ll notice to feel grateful for!
10 ways to practise gratitude:
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Recalling moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable theme of gratefulness into your life.
- Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.
- Ask Yourself Three Questions. Meditate on your relationships with parents, friends, siblings, work associates, children, and partners using these three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”
- Share Your Gratitude with Others. Research has found that expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships. So the next time your partner, friend or family member does something you appreciate, be sure to let them know.
- Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear – we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.
- Use Visual Reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often, the best visual reminders are other people.
- Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.
- Watch Your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.
- Go Through the Motions. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude. By “going through grateful motions,” you’ll trigger the emotion of gratitude more often.
- Before you sleep each night, trying and choose the best memory you have from the day. It could be as simple as a great cuppa or hug from a friend, but trying to choose the best one will alert you to the multiple positives from the day.