We could all do better by being more grateful in our lives.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can make us happier and healthier. It can help us sleep better, lower our anxiety, and improve our relationships.
Gratitude also makes us less self-centered and more open to other people’s experiences.
When we are grateful, we are more likely to notice the good things that happen to us and to those around us instead of focusing mainly on the bad.
10 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude Every Day
Gratitude interventions are proven to increase positive emotions, decrease negative emotions, and improve overall well-being.
Here are 10 simple ways to practice gratitude every day:
1. Reflect on your blessings
This simple activity will help you avoid the trap of negativity and shift your focus from what you lack to what you own.
Take a few minutes each day to think about the things in your life that you are grateful for.
If you find it hard to find things you’re grateful for, then look around in your home and imagine your life without some of the things and people there.
Then express thanks for having them in your life. With time, it becomes easy to reflect on what is going well in your life.
You can do this as a daily ritual or only when you feel your mental outlook might benefit from it, such as after a particularly challenging day.
2. Start writing a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a diary to record things for which one is grateful. It is a way to practice gratitude at the end of the day.
Gratitude journals are often used as therapeutic tools to help people find balance in their lives and improve their well-being.
- The best times are in the morning or before bedtime.
- Find an area in your home where you feel at ease, such as a favorite chair or a cushion.
- To get into the habit of gratitude journaling, play specific music in the background every day.
Write down three things that you are grateful for each day.
A study by Dr. Robert A. Emmons found that people who kept gratitude journals reported more positive emotions and better physical health than those who did not.
Read this short guide to the “Three Good Things” happiness exercise. You will learn to find and list the three things that went well in your day and why you need to ponder on them.
3. Share your gratitude with others
Take a few minutes to tell someone in your life what you love about them; it will boost your gratitude.
We don’t do it too often because it takes courage to express our gratitude to others.
It can be hard at times, but when you take the time to appreciate those around you, they feel good knowing that their existence matters.
The key is to find a way for you to do this in a small way every day. One way is to ask someone you meet how are they doing, and then look at them to listen to their answer.
Another way could be to make a short list of things that you are grateful for with a particular person and share it with them.
Yet another way is to take a few minutes to write a note (even a post-it note) to tell someone in your life that you appreciate them and value what they do.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a skill that can help you to cultivate more gratitude in your life. It helps you become more aware of your passing thoughts and feelings and how they affect your experience.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present with yourself and the world around you, without judgment or critique. It’s about noticing what’s happening, without trying to change it. It’s about accepting things as they are, rather than wishing they were different.
When you learn to pay attention to the present moment with mindfulness, you can find things to be grateful for in your surroundings.
5. Perform little acts of kindness
Performing random acts of kindness can help you feel happier and more grateful in life.
One study found that those who performed three random acts of kindness a week for six weeks had higher levels of happiness and gratitude than those who did not.
Take note that your kind act does not have to be big; it can be something as small as holding the door for someone, giving up your seat on public transit, or helping someone with a heavy load.
Just do something nice for someone else. Ask someone how can you help, and help them if you can. At least find an opportunity to say a few kind words to someone who is going through a tough time.
6. Meditate on gratitude
Find time each day to sit in stillness and focus on the things you are grateful for.
Gratitude meditation is a simple and powerful way to improve your emotional climate. You can do it from anywhere, anytime, and it only takes 2-5 minutes.
- Start by taking a few deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. It will calm you by stimulating your vagus nerve.
- Think of someone important in your life (like your parents, partner, friends, or pets). It could also be something meaningful that brings joy to your life.
- Make a clear mental image of this person or item (like, what they look like, how they talk and smile, what they like).
- Express your gratefulness for them. Repeat the following sentence to yourself: “I am so grateful to you for __.”
7. Express gratitude publicly
Share your gratitude on social media or in a public forum to inspire others to do the same.
Take a moment to publicly express your gratitude to someone who has made a positive impact on your life.
Design a social media graphic with a few words of your heartfelt thank you and why.
8. Be thankful for the gift of life
The gift of life is something we should always be grateful for every day. It is a gift that many will cease to have when the sun sets today.
We should never forget to show our gratitude for this gift and be thankful every day.
The world is a beautiful place to live in. Be grateful for the gift of life to get the chance to enjoy this beauty for another day.
Reflect on the sunrise and the blue sky, listen closely to the chirps of birds, note the many unnoticed things in nature, and be grateful for having experienced them before you go to sleep tonight.
9. Find the silver lining
When faced with a challenge or difficult situation, try to find something to be grateful for.
Try looking forward with hope and optimism.
Being optimistic and hopeful for a brighter future, especially when the current times are uncertain and difficult, can make you more resilient to surrendering to adversity.
10. Read a book on gratitude
Here are five great books on gratitude that I would recommend:
1. “The Gratitude Journal for Women: Choose Gratitude Every Day” by Paper Peony Press
2. “Thanks a Thousand- A Gratitude Journey” by A.J. Jacobs
3. “Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity” by Robert A. Emmons
4. “The Grateful Life: The Secret to Happiness and the Science of Contentment” by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons
5. “Gratitude” by Oliver Sacks
These books explore gratitude and its role in cultivating happiness and well-being. They offer practical advice on how to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in daily life, as well as personal anecdotes and insights on the transformative power of gratitude.
Taking people for granted slowly kills your attitude of gratitude. But you can bring it back to life.
Pick one activity from above and put it into practice today. As you make it a daily practice, notice how much better your life becomes.
Find something to be grateful for every day. What was that for you today?
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip RoyReviewed and rewritten by Sandip Roy — a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher, who writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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