It’s easy to get caught up in all the stresses of everyday life—and forget how good we have it sometimes.
If you’d like to start making more time for gratitude, follow these simple steps.
1. Find gratitude in hard times
Reflecting on negative or difficult situations in your life can actually help you nail down what you’re really grateful for.
Dig a little deeper into some of these experiences and consider what virtues or strengths they’ve helped you develop or the relationships that have carried you through them.
Perhaps your job is demanding a lot of you lately. What is there to be grateful for in this situation? Do you have good time management skills? If so, that’s something to be grateful for! Imagine how much more stressful things would be if you didn’t!
This is just one example of how there’s always something or someone to be grateful for, even in hard times.
2. Start a gratitude journal
Gratitude journals are a tried and true method for practicing gratitude.
A journal of the things you’re grateful for allows you to keep track of the positives in your life and serves as something you can always refer back to on days when it’s a little tougher than others to feel grateful.
And a gratitude journal can be as time-intensive or laid-back as you want! You can journal everyday or you can set aside a time once a week.
Still too much of a commitment? Even journaling once a month can be an impactful step on your gratitude journey.
For many people, giving back to others in their local community is the key to gratitude, as volunteering can highlight and make you more grateful for the things that you may take for granted.
Plus, people who volunteered in the past year are reportedly more satisfied with their lives compared to people who didn’t volunteer. Additionally, researchers have found that people who volunteer at least once a month report better mental health than those who volunteer infrequently or not at all.
4. Say thank you
Expressing your gratitude for the people you care about can boost their happiness and yours!
SoulPancake ran an experiment encouraging people to write a letter to someone they’re grateful for. People who did so experienced increased levels of happiness up to 4%.
When the same people then made a phone call expressing their gratitude directly, their happiness levels jumped even further: from 4% to 19%.
5. Prayer or meditation
People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude. The Pray.com app is an awesome resource for people looking to make daily prayer a priority.
Not your cup of tea? Try mindfulness meditation. For this sort of meditation, people will usually focus on a grounding word or phrase (such as “gratitude”), but it is also possible to focus on a particular aspect of your life that you’re grateful for (such as “family”).
The Calm app and the Headspace app are full of guided meditations for those needing a little help with the practice.
Let’s get started.
Be patient with yourself as you start your gratitude journey! Studies show that practicing gratitude makes its most positive impact when done consistently over time.
In other words, just a week of practicing gratitude might not make you feel any different. But, don’t let that deter you! Over time, gratitude is sure to help you feel happier and more satisfied with life.