Gratitude broken down is simply appreciating the good things in your life. It doesn’t always seem simple, though. When things are hectic or stressful, finding the silver lining can be challenging. However, learning how to embrace and express gratitude can significantly boost your happiness. A little gratitude offers a host of other benefits you’re probably not aware of, too. Let’s take a closer look at the concept, ways it can improve your life, and how to practice it.
Some people believe gratitude to be a feeling or emotion. Others look at it as more of a mood. Still, some folks think gratitude is more of a personality trait. These can all be correct. In essence, gratitude elicits satisfaction and appreciation in a person through feelings, actions, or even inherent qualities. However, even those who may be more inclined to feel grateful on a regular basis through their glass-half-full-optimism still need to work on creating a positive outlook. Gratitude can be viewed as an attitude or something you practice regularly. As with any type of practice, you’ll get better at demonstrating gratitude the more you work at it.
Benefits of Embracing Gratitude
Many of the benefits of gratitude have been scientifically proven. Understanding these helps us to see why it’s so important to develop a grateful mindset. Gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Research has shown it improves relaxation, sleep quality and energy levels.
Being thankful for your blessings can also enhance your emotional wellness. Being able to look on the bright side helps you to be more resilient and handle crisis situations. Which also contributes to better relationships. Appreciating the positives in life can simply make you feel happier.
4 Ways to Start Practicing Gratitude
Recognizing your blessings may not come easily at first, but there are some ways to help make it a habit and a regular part of your routine.
1 | My favorite is prayer. I can’t help but think God had a plan when he commanded us to pray always. Turning our hearts away from what is wrong in our lives and looking for things to thank God for is the ultimate exercise in practicing gratitude. Even thanking Him for what might not be right has the power to change our perspective on the challenges we face.
2 | One of the most convenient and impactful methods for cultivating appreciation is through keeping a gratitude journal. In this practice, you’ll write down three things each day that you’re grateful for, which makes it easier to notice and recognize those good things.
3 | Giving back and doing good for others can also provide a tremendous perspective shift as well. Serving those around us is yet another way to move your focus outward.
4 | Sharing gratitude in the form of a personal note or message shows how much you care. Words have meaning, but it’s often said actions speak louder than words. An unexpected note lifts my mood and makes my day. Notes can be especially impactful if you intentionally send your message to someone you know is going through a tough time.
Are You Ready for a Challenge?
If you’re still on the fence about starting a little gratitude practice for yourself, I’d like to issue you a simple challenge. Just for today, find one random thing in your environment to be grateful for. This is a low-stakes activity and a great way to jumpstart your pursuit of gratitude. Keep reading, to see what I mean.
What to Look For
It’s easy, really. There are things to be grateful for, even on the difficult days. In fact, it’s even more impactful when you discover little rays of light in the darkest times. You can look for anything in your daily routine to inspire you — even if you don’t leave your home. We all have days where we feel sad, on those days it might just be the roof over your head is your source of gratitude. Even a beautiful flower out your window might be enough to influence your mood for the better. Find just one thing and focus on that.
What You Can Expect
Let’s be realistic. Noticing one thing you’re grateful for probably won’t completely change your life; however, it could be a significant jumpstart toward moving you in the right direction. This is especially true when you’re going through a difficult period. Turning a long-standing bad mood around even slightly by acknowledging one small good thing can be quite meaningful. Remember, our thoughts influence our feelings and behaviors.
Sometimes all it takes is one small catalyst to spark significant change. Some consider this the “baby steps” philosophy. Every habit or practice begins with a tiny step. Taking a moment to be grateful for just one thing in your life today can improve your mood. You may feel a weight lifted or maybe your anxiety has eased. Hold onto that feeling. Notice whether your perspective improves after reflecting on gratitude just once today. This lift in your mood or brightened outlook can lead you to feel better, which then positively influences your actions. You might notice it will be easier to find something to be grateful for tomorrow.
Give it a try. Find one tiny spark to light the flame of gratitude today. Be intentional in noticing the effect it has on you. You may find practicing a little gratitude is easier and more rewarding than you realized.
Now you have a better idea of just what making a concerted effort to count your blessings can do for your life. Embracing and expressing gratitude are more critical than many of us realize.
To make your practice of a little gratitude more meaningful remember to stay committed! To feel the full benefits of gratitude means being all in. Are you ready?