Gratitude – is a choice, a practice and an attitude. It is a practice to be thankful and show appreciation for and to return kindness. A simple, easy, positive action which can change so much in a person’s life.
Gratitude changed my life in every possible manner. It has made me a more positive person. A more productive person. A better achiever. A better daughter, sister, friend, coworker and most importantly a better human being (at least, I like to think so). I’m not perfect, but gratitude has made me better. Based on my experiences and the experiences of others I’ve talked with I will share a few ways of how to incorporate gratitude in your life:
Have a morning gratitude session. Take five minutes in the morning to write down at least three things that you are grateful for in your life. This could be as simple as you woke up today and could get out of bed with a smile, you feel joy when you catch up with a friend over coffee or you’re grateful for good health. This will instantly make your day better, and help you start your day off right.
When you’re having a hard day, make a gratitude list. We all have those bad days sometimes. We are stressed out from work, someone takes out their anger on you, we hurt a loved one. One of the things that can make a bad day much better is making a list of all the things you’re thankful for, it makes your problems seem so small. There are always things to be thankful for — loved ones, health, having a job, having a roof over your head and clothes on your back, life itself.
Instead of getting mad at someone, show gratitude. Easier said than done, right? You will have to work on re-wiring your attitude and mindset, but I can promise you that it’s a great thing to do. If you get mad at your co-worker, for example, because of something he or she did, bite your tongue and don’t react in anger. Instead, take some deep breaths and try to think of reasons you’re grateful for that person. Has that person done anything nice for you? It will slowly change your mood, improve your relationship, and help make things better.
When you face a major challenge, be grateful for it. Many people will see something difficult as a bad thing. If something goes wrong, it’s a reason to complain, be negative, find blame or it’s a time of self-pity. That won’t get you anywhere. Instead, learn to be grateful for the challenge — it’s an opportunity to grow, to learn, to get better at something. This will transform you from a complainer into a positive person who only continues to improve. People will like you better and you’ll improve your life in ways you never imagined.
When you suffer a tragedy, be grateful for the life you still have. When I had to face the trauma and aftermath of losing my husband to cancer I had a choice either to lose complete hope and fall into self-destructive habits, or use the challenge to find my inner strength and joy. It was the power of gratitude for the life I still have that had the biggest effect and still helps me on my self-love and healing journey. Everyday I am grateful for all the beauty around me, the love I have received from people still in my life and the opportunity to show appreciation to these people. You can do the same and still find joy in your life.
Instead of looking at what you don’t have, look at what you do have. Its easy to focus on the negatives or what you don’t have such as your dream house, or the car you drive isn’t as nice as you’d like, or your peers have better jobs? If so, this is an opportunity to be grateful for what you already have. It’s easy to forget that there are billions of people worse off than you – compare your life to these people’s lives, and be grateful for the life you have. And realize that it’s already more than enough, that happiness is not a destination — it’s already here.
My advice? Give gratitude a shot, you might be surprised as to how it can change your life for the better. To help motivate you, I share the quote below which inspires me to practice gratitude everyday:
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie