It’s no secret that gratitude is a virtue. It has been shown to make us happier, healthier, and provide numerous benefits in our relationships. But it can be hard work to stay thankful in the face of life’s inevitable setbacks. If you find that your gratitude is dwindling, read on for six strategies that will help you develop an attitude of gratitude.
Firstly let’s delve into gratitude.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is the feeling that you are thankful for something good that someone has done for you, or may in future do for you. Gratitude is a virtue, but it also is an emotion. Like anger, joy and fear, gratitude is an emotion that can be felt. It’s usually not a basic emotion but one which comes about through some other thought process.
Gratitude will be different for different people and may change with time. It can be a hard feeling to maintain in the face of life’s inevitable setbacks, but it is one that will greatly benefit you if you can master it. We have all heard the expression: “It’s better to give than receive.” Mastering gratitude will help you achieve this.
The advantages of gratitude
We know from scientific studies that people who express gratitude are significantly happier and healthier than those who don’t. Here is a list of all the significant benefits of gratitude:
- It makes us feel happier
- It strengthens our friendships
- It wards off anxiety and depression
- It improves our health by strengthening the immune system
- It reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides
- People who feel grateful are more likely to practice safe sex.
- Gratitude helps us deal with adversity.
10 Methods on how to develop an attitude of gratitude
Now that you understand what gratitude is, and learn of the benefits that it can bring to your health and relationships; here are some ways on how you can develop an attitude of gratitude.
1) Keep a gratitude journal where you write down all the things you’re thankful for.
It might be something as simple as the fact that you have passed your driving test or something more substantial like a new job you got. Whatever it is, keep writing in your gratitude journal daily and before long you will start to see a change in how grateful you feel.
2) Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for.
It could be as simple as the fact that you have passed your driving test, or it can be something bigger like the fact that you just got a job with a great salary. Whatever it is, make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. When I did this exercise it really helped me to feel more grateful and also get more awareness on what I was thankful for.
3) Tell someone why you’re thankful.
This can be done either through a conversation or by sending them an email. It doesn’t need to belong, but just a simple expression of gratitude will go a long way. For instance, if I’m in the supermarket and I see a homeless person who is holding out his cup asking for money, I will usually give him some change and sometimes even go over to him and talk with him for a while.
4) Do a gratitude exercise.
It can be as simple as saying ‘Thank you” on several occasions. Or once a day does something that makes you feel grateful. I like to go for a walk around my neighborhood and just look at the beautiful scenery. Sometimes I like to be alone and just listen to the noise of the city or the trees.
5) Think of times when you felt grateful in the past.
This can help you remember what it was like to feel grateful, which can then lead to feeling even more grateful in your current situation. For example, if you think about a time when you were financially struggling but then, later on, got a promotion at work and made more money, that could help make you feel better about finding a job with less pay today.
6) Write a gratitude letter.
Write about what you are grateful for. It can be something small or big, it doesn’t really matter as long as you really write it out when you are on your own time. I personally like to write them in a journal, because they give me the tools to think of various thoughts that may help me feel better in the future.
7) Think about your future.
Write out three things that you want to do five years from now, 10 years from now, and 25 years from now. It could be a career, a family thing or a hobby. Write it down on your own time as if it was already happening and think about what you’d be doing at that time. This helps put a sense of realism to your goals while at the same time makes them feel more attainable.
8) Listen to uplifting music or watch an inspiring video.
I love listening to Joy Division but also go for movies that are inspirational. I find that watching videos like Jim Carrey’s 10-minute gratitude speech or a movie with inspirational messages can really help me feel more grateful. I say go for whatever moves you the most, as long as it inspires you in some way.
9) Fake it till you make it.
If you find it hard to feel grateful in your current situation, then just imagine the future that you actually want. Begone are the days where people think that you can’t control your thoughts. It’s now proven time and time again that if we do something enough times then the brain will adjust and believe this is actually true.
10) Practice mindfulness & awareness.
Being more mindful and aware of things in your environment will help you become more grateful. For example when I look at the trees, I breathe in the clean air and see the birds singing. These things make me feel so much happier about my environment. You can do this by simply breathing and being aware of your surroundings. This can also be done by walking around your neighborhood instead of sitting all day inside, or even just take a walk to the grocery store instead of driving.
What are some examples of gratitude?
It may sound ridiculous to some, but being grateful for even the smallest things will change your perception of the world. Here are some examples of gratitude that will help you get a better understanding of what I am talking about.
1) Being grateful for the fact that you are alive.
You can take something as simple as a breath of fresh air and feel grateful for it. This will help you appreciate the fact that you are alive and breathing every day. It can also lead to more awareness on things such as pollution, global warming and even animals getting harmed by humans. Once you feel grateful for being alive, it becomes easier to appreciate other people who may not be so lucky to have this opportunity.
2) Gratitude for a healthy body.
Take a minute and think about what you would do if you had a stroke or heart attack right at this moment. Is there something that you are grateful for in your current situation? This can help change your perspective to something which is more positive. In just 10 seconds, you can take in a deep breath of fresh air and be grateful for it, then exhale slowly and say thank you to yourself, that is all. Now you can go back to what you were doing and feel even better than before.
3) Gratitude for the money in your pocket.
Most of us tend to think that money is bad, but when you’re grateful for what you have then it doesn’t seem so bad. Just think about how many people don’t have any money at all, and then think about how lucky you are to be able to even spend some of it on something that makes your life better. This kind of thinking will make you feel better about yourself, and ultimately feel more grateful in your current situation.
4) Gratitude for the food on your plate.
When you think about how many people around the world go to bed hungry or even die from starvation every day, it is truly amazing to think that you can at least eat something that your body needs. Enjoy each meal and thank yourself for being able to eat it.
5) Gratitude for being able to smile & laugh.
We all have the ability to laugh and smile even when we don’t feel like it. It is truly amazing when you think about it. This will then make you want to smile more and share that happiness with others around you; after all, laughter really is the best medicine.
6) Gratitude for being able to see what you see.
A lot of people in the world are blind or are visually impaired, which is why when we wake up and can see the world around us that it truly is a blessing. There is something that goes through our minds when we realize that we do have the ability to see. It is truly amazing how you can be thankful for seeing the things that you see.
These are just a few of the many things you can be grateful for. Hopefully this gives you an idea of where to start and makes you feel better about the things that you have.
Can gratitude change your life?
Gratitude has been shown to change just about anything in our life. It is a feeling of appreciation for all the things that you have. When we feel grateful, it is much easier for us to be happy and feels positive emotions such as happiness and joy. We gain more optimism, and ultimately we are more likely to achieve success in whatever goal or goal-related task which we are working on. Overall, gratitude can change our entire lives for the better with a few simple techniques.
What happens when you practice gratitude?
Gratitude is an attitude that fosters a constant awareness and happiness towards all things you have in your life, including both material and non-material circumstances. In the words of Lynne McTaggart, “Gratitude is the process by which we show our appreciation for what is good in our lives”.
McTaggart further explained how a person can become “more grateful” by dedicating time to their gratitude practice. Those of us who practice gratitude are more likely to be aware of the good things in our lives and to be thankful for them. This will allow us to experience greater emotions of happiness and enjoyment, and also build a positive relationship with ourselves.
When you are grateful, you then take time to express your appreciation for all the good things in your life. You will notice that you feel happier and more positive as a result.
Gratitude can have a positive effect on your life, especially because it makes you feel better about yourself. When we express our gratitude, we increase our self-esteem and self-confidence. This in turn will allow us to live a more meaningful life and get rid of the negative emotions which are holding us back from being successful.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how you can develop an attitude of gratitude and also how to develop a practice of expressing your gratitude. It will be easier for you to feel happy and positive, which will allow you to reach great heights in your life.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope wisdom was spread. If you enjoyed this article then please do share it with your friends 🙂 And make sure to leave any comments below, they are greatly appreciated! Have a great day.