The benefits of practicing gratitude are virtually endless. Studies have shown that taking up this practice makes you happier, improves your well-being, as well as increases your self-esteem. Gratitude is a powerful feeling that can help combat negative emotions and help us see situations from new angles and open us up to new possibilities.
Gratitude doesnít necessarily have to be linked to faith or religion; what or whom you choose to be grateful towards is entirely up to you. You could be grateful towards the God/gods you believe in, but you could also be grateful towards life, the universe, cosmic powers, or friends, family members, teachers, pets or even yourself.
Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine can make a world of difference, and the sooner you can begin your practice, the better. If youíre unsure of where to start, however, let me introduce you to a few ways to start including the practice of gratitude into your everyday life.
Keep a gratitude journal
Start writing down things youíre grateful for. Taking up this habit doesnít require more than a pen, a notebook, or a notetaking app if you prefer writing digitally, and it can give you amazing results. Start making it a daily practice. You don't have to write down more than one or a few things that you are grateful for per day, and it can make you start noticing things in your day-to-day life that you otherwise tend to take for granted. Studies have shown that people who keep a gratitude journal generally feel happier and more optimistic than those who donít, and they also tend to progress towards their goals faster. It doesnít take more than a few minutes tops of your day, but it can be immensely rewarding.
Start expressing your gratitude towards others
Humans are social beings, and our relationships with others are vital to our own happiness. Building meaningful relationships with people who can support us, teach us and make us feel good about ourselves can significantly improve the quality of our lives. Start including people around you in your gratitude experience, and you will notice the positive results that can come from it. If you are thankful towards other people and what they have done for you, let them know. You can tell them youíre grateful to have them in your life, or it could be as simple as giving them a sincere compliment, or sharing your thoughts and ideas with them to let them know that you value their opinions on subjects you find important. This will probably make their day, and they are likely to return the positive energy.
Appreciate the obvious
Itís easy to forget that on the most fundamental levels, we actually have a lot to be grateful for, just the fact that we are alive for example. We often tend to overlook things that are very obvious to us, but may in fact be vital to our survival and wellbeing, such as food on our plate, a roof above our head, and clothes on our body. Also, think of all the freedoms and opportunities you have that contribute to making your life the journey full of possibilities that it is. Itís important to remember that these are all things to be grateful for. One can quickly become dissatisfied with oneís current situation if you fail to realize that many of the things in life are a privilege, not a right or something you should take for granted.
Anyone can start practicing gratitude, and there is no reason to not start doing it and begin reaping the benefits of it right away. Why not begin by just taking a deep breath, then taking a look at yourself and your surroundings and just answer this simple question sincerely: What are you grateful for right now, in this moment? And you can start building your gratitude practice from there.