Have you ever tried to cultivate gratitude? It can be more complicated than it sounds.
Our brains are usually wired to pay more attention to negative events. Hurricanes and heartbreaks create deeper impressions than rainbows and family dinners.
Sometimes, you’re just so busy that you forget about your resolutions on your way to work and don’t realize it until you’re brushing your teeth at night.
With a little help, you can make thankfulness more automatic. Try these ideas for increasing your gratitude.
Benefits of Growing Your Gratitude
If you want to change your habits, it’s important to build your motivation. Keep reminding yourself of the advantages of being more appreciative. It will give you a powerful sense of purpose.
Consider these benefits:
- Boost your mood. Gratitude can make you happier. It increases your energy levels and reduces daily stress.
- Enhance your wellbeing. Many studies have found a connection with physical health too. Gratitude may strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and protect you from diabetes and other chronic conditions.
- Deepen your relationships. Expressing your thanks also helps you to bond with others. You’re likely to feel more empathetic and experience a greater sense of belonging.
Daily Practices for Growing Your Gratitude
Work out your gratitude muscles the same way you train your body. Gradual and consistent actions help you to accomplish big goals with less stress.
These techniques will help you to include gratitude in your everyday life:
- Keep a journal. You’ve probably heard suggestions about starting a gratitude journal. It can be an effective tool for staying on track and evaluating your progress. That’s especially true if you update it each day and review what you write, so you can spot patterns and reinforce positive choices.
- Write letters. Did your parents remind you to write thank you letters? It’s a tradition worth passing on to your own kids. Let others know how they’ve made a positive difference in your life. Tell them in person too.
- Minimize materialism. Being overly concerned with possessions and physical comfort makes it more difficult to feel grateful. Focus on spiritual values and personal relationships rather than retail therapy. Try to be content with what you have.
- Resist comparisons. Envy is another obstacle to counting your blessings. Take pleasure in fortunate events that happen to others. It will make you feel happier in the long run. Examine your feelings to see if they’re pointing to some changes you want to make in your own life.
- Welcome setbacks. You may even find yourself being thankful for things that seem like disappointments at first. Challenges teach us how to build character and resilience. Losses sometimes make room for new opportunities.
- Reflect and pray. What does your faith teach you about being grateful? Create your own personal prayers of thanks. Explore what gratitude feels like for you.
- Live purposefully. Slow down and savor small miracles. Notice the beauty of nature and the kindness of strangers. Imagine what life would be like without your family or a safe place to sleep.
- Help others. Put your troubles in perspective by assisting others who are struggling. Volunteer at a local food bank or teach English to recent immigrants.
- Acknowledge yourself. Saying thanks can feel awkward when you’re starting out. Warm up by practicing on yourself. Give yourself credit for eating nutritious foods and riding your bike to work.
- Grow older. You might like knowing that gratitude usually increases with age. You can help the process along, but time is already on your side.
Increasing your gratitude levels could transform your life. Make giving thanks part of your daily routines. You’ll be glad that you did!