Gratitude is a mental habit that can transform your life, and it is surprisingly easy to develop.
It’s easy to be grateful in the abstract. Gratitude is usually described in terms of what you feel for others: you feel grateful to them, or they are grateful to you. But gratitude is also about what you feel for yourself.
You can be grateful for anything. You can be grateful for the food you eat, the people you love, the music you hear, or the feeling of your feet on the ground.
Gratitude makes you happy because it reminds us that we are alive.
Here are a few ways to find Gratitude in daily life:
1. Say it aloud
When you feel gratitude, there are three ways to deepen that feeling:
1. Notice that you are grateful.
2. Notice the things that make you grateful.
3. Say aloud that you are grateful.
You might worry that saying aloud that you are grateful will seem contrived or fake — but it doesn’t have to be, because you really are grateful.
2. Appreciate others and tell them that
Appreciation is a kind of gratitude, and gratitude is a way to be happy.
It might seem that appreciation is easier for people who have more going for them. You have more things to appreciate if you have a loving partner, a good job, or a lovely house. It’s easier to admire someone who compliments your personality than someone who clashes with it, but it’s also possible to find some good in everyone. It’s so much easier to appreciate someone when you realize what they do for you.
3. Smile often
If you want to find gratitude in daily life, one thing you can do is smile often. Smiling makes most people happier, and it does so instantly and directly, as if by magic.
4. Nurture relationships
Here’s the formula for cultivating gratitude: make more new friends, and nurture the old ones. The reason this formula works is that friendship is based on mutuality. Friendships are not like one-sided transactions; they are closer to marriages, where two people interpenetrate their lives.
Nurture doesn’t just mean calling once in a while to say hello – although that helps – but finding ways to help out your friends in concrete ways.
5. Enjoy nature’s beauty.
Every time you take a walk, count your blessings. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and be thankful for nature. You can also try to share some of your happiness with others and appreciate their beauty and kindness.
6. Practice an act of kindness daily
When you look at the world with gratitude and kindness, it seems different from before. And since everything around us affects us in some way, you’ll find that your daily life is happier than before.
7. Compliment your friends
You can help your friends by finding things to appreciate about them. Compliment them sincerely. Express gratitude for their friendship, and they will be more likely to trust you with confidence. Gratitude is the highest form of flattery, and they will enjoy being flattered.
8. Keep a journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is almost effortless. Just before you go to sleep, think about the good things that happened during the day. It can be hard to come up with three things at first, but it gets easier over time; finding three good things becomes a habit.
9. Make a gratitude list.
Write your list and include things you are grateful for every day. If you say “thank you” each time you remember something you are thankful for, you will start to notice how many things there are to be grateful for in your life, even on days when nothing seems to be going right.
Your gratitude list might start like this:
– I am thankful for my family, my kids.
– I am thankful for my friends, with whom I can share my life.
– I am thankful for the health that allows me to live the life that I want.
I am thankful for all the people who have helped me with jobs, money, or both.
– I am thankful that my parents taught me to appreciate what I have.
– I am thankful that my grandfather taught me how important education is so that people can have a better life than he did.
10. Don’t complain simply.
You will never find gratitude in your life if you are always complaining. To do that, you need to go beyond the complaints and discover what you truly appreciate about your life.
11. Helps others
To put yourself in a state of constant gratitude, you need to increase the amount of good in the world and decrease the amount of evil. The best way to do this is to help other people.
When you do good for others, you create a kind of debt—a positive obligation to an unknown recipient. This is a great gift: a source of strength in hard times.
12. Be thankful when you learn new
Learning is good, and progress is good. But there’s a difference between recognizing the goodness of something and being grateful for it. What makes this hard is that you tend to conflate the two in your minds. When you recognize something as good, it feels like gratitude.
13. Share benefits of being gratitude
Gratitude is not something you can summon up at will. It’s a habit that forms over time, the product of many daily experiences. Being grateful helps you feel good. Gratitude helps to create good relationships that improve our lives. Being grateful lets us live more satisfying lives, which makes it worth doing anyway.
14. Use visual reminders
Is there anything you are grateful for that you want to remember?
Make a list. People move in and out of your life; objects wear out; interests shift. Your gratitude changes, too; what was once important may fade away.
So make another list. Now you have two lists, one with things you want to be grateful for and the other things you are thankful for. The first list is the one you can’t look at without feeling bad; the second is the one that cheers you up when you do look at it.
Try making a photograph of each item on the second list, then put them up where you’ll see them every day — on your computer monitor or the refrigerator door. This way, they’re just as present as they were when they were new and exciting, but now they’re also reminders of gratitude and happiness.
15. Savor the good you already have.
Gratitude doesn’t have to wait for a particular time or place. Gratitude is a way of savoring the good things that happen every day, like the taste of the good soup and the smell of flowers and children’s laughter and friendship and music and even rain on your face. By focusing on what is good, we make more room for the good in our lives.
Showing gratitude for what you have doesn’t require you to put on some show or pretend that everything is perfect when it isn’t. It just means that you should pause and think about how things came to be this way every once in a while. It’s okay to be happy with your life, but if you never stop considering where it all came from, you might take it for granted.
The big things are easy enough to recognize: your house didn’t build itself; someone had to make it; someone else had to deliver it; someone else paid for it. On a smaller scale, someone cooked the food you ate today, somewhere far away from where you live. Someone hauled their ass out of bed early enough so they could drive a truck across town and bring it here. Someone got out of bed again so they could come in and prepare it for you.
Thus feel blessed and be grateful for all the things you have in your life.
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