What are you grateful for?
There have been many studies on the positive effects of gratitude including its effect on happiness, sleep, and quality of life.
When things become hard or frustrating it’s easy to forget to be grateful for the things and people in our lives. It’s important we develop ways in which to remember to be grateful because it is a fundamental part of living a happier life. You can not be grateful and feel sorry yourself at the same time. Here are five ways you can start to bask in gratitude:
- Keep a Gratitude Journal – Every night before you go to bed, write down ten things you are grateful for. This can be things that happened that day or general things you are grateful for in your life. Don’t think you have ten things? Start with three.
- Breathe – In the morning, take a deep breath and as you let it out thank the universe for another day. You can do this multiple times, breathing out and expressing gratitude for one new person or thing with each exhale.
- Take a Moment to Remember Gratitude – Whenever you feel frustrated about a situation, think of one thing you can be grateful for about it. I will admit this one is a bit more difficult especially when we get caught up in the story we have created about the situation. I have found, however, that there is something to be grateful for in everything. Car not starting? Take a breath and be grateful that the universe is teaching you how to be patient. Better yet, be grateful that you have a car.
- Meditate – Start a meditation practice to become mindful of your thoughts. So many thoughts go in and out of our brains on a daily basis that it is difficult to realize and stop ourselves from thinking negative things. It’s especially hard when we’ve developed a habit to see the slightest disruption as another thing that has “gone wrong” in our lives. In becoming mindful of our thoughts, we are able to catch ourselves when we feel ungrateful or are falling down the trap of the negative story our minds have made up.
- Write a Gratitude Letter – Show and/or tell someone that you are grateful for that you are grateful for them. This will make them feel good and it will also remind you that you have someone to be grateful for. Two birds. One stone. (As they say). Studies have shown that people who write gratitude letters, even if they don’t send them, improved their mental health and shifted their focus towards more positive feelings and thoughts.
Are you doing one or more of these gratitude practices? If so, which ones? If not, which one do you think you are going to start with?
(You can read more about gratitude research HERE).
This week’s featured song is “I’m Alive” by Kenny Chesney (with Dave Matthews).
“So damn easy to say that life’s so hard. Everybody’s got there share of battle scars. As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars that I’m alive and well… And today, you know, that’s good enough for me. Breathing in and out’s a blessing can’t you see. Today’s the first day of the rest of my life.”