We human beings have an unfortunate tendency to see the negatives in things and complain about pretty much anything and everything in life. I dare you to stop next time you catch yourself doing this and check your feelings, and your moods and your energy! You will find that this way of thinking is draining. Fortunately for us we can turn this around, firstly we can fine tune our emotional intelligence and stop these thoughts as they arise and then take it to the next level by developing an attitude for gratitude!
Practicing gratitude has been around for centuries… What is it? Gratitude is to express appreciation for what you have, the situation you are in the people in your life etc. Studies have shown that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude and increase our happiness and well-being in doing so! Especially if we express our gratefulness to others. Grateful thinking can in turn increase our energy levels, optimism and empathy. And as we are already grateful for what we have the universe takes it on as a challenge.. ‘You are happy with this already? Wait till it increases tenfold!’
So why is gratitude helpful in turning our lives around? Well one of the great benefits of practicing gratefulness is that it reminds us of the positive things in our lives. You can use it to turn the negatives in your life to positive. How? You can be grateful for the challenges in your life making you a stronger person, you can learn from the experience. Be grateful for the experience it brings you. If your focus changes around a negative situation, so will your attitude toward it, and in the end you will see that your situation will change also.
Practicing gratitude helps us focus on what is important, helps us find our deep seated values. It also reminds us to say thanks to others. Just that simple kindness can make a huge difference in other people’s lives. It shows them that you appreciate them, and what they are doing for you. This in itself can help you connect with others and build fruitful relationships.
Practicing gratitude deliberately has great benefits! It helps to boost your mood, makes you feel better connected to others, as your focus changes to the positives in your life, you tend to enjoy life more, and you will tend to have more positive memories for later in life.
So how do you practice gratitude? There are several ways and you need to find what suits you the best, below are some ideas to try:
- Gratitude Journal – you could have a diary where you jot down each day what you are grateful for. It can be in the morning to start your day at a positive note or in the evening to close the day positive. You don’t have to write too much, just 2-3 things that made your day. It can even be something as simple as ‘I am grateful that the sun was shining today!’, ‘I am grateful for my children’s health!’
- Say Thank You – when someone does something for you, no matter how small, remember to say ‘Thank you’
- Gratitude Session – you can do this during exercise or in front of the mirror, pick the things you are grateful for and say them out loud! Say it with conviction, since being thankful for what you have will bring you more of what you want!
- Learn a Gratitude Prayer – there are many prayers you can choose from, religious or not. Find one you like and put it where you can see it to remind you to be grateful.
I challenge you to practice gratitude for the next 30 days, consistently to help you develop your attitude for gratitude and see how your life will change.