Before considering ways to be grateful, let’s begin by acknowledging a little about what we know of gratitude. We probably can all acknowledge that being grateful is somehow very good for how we feel, but an ever increasing body of evidence seems to suggest that being grateful impacts every area not just our mood.
Emotionally, people who are grateful are often more relaxed and positive, more confident and resilient. The net effect of that is that grateful people are also healthier and may be more successful in the areas of finance and careers.
Being grateful actually makes us feel happier and that in turn can have a positive impact on our health. So if you are finding it tough to get started with this whole gratitude journey here are a few ideas.
1. Don’t Take Anything For Granted
While this may not be true for absolutely everyone, the vast majority of us can be thankful for a roof over our heads, a comfortable bed, being warm, having food to eat and clothes to wear.
Of course many people might want a bigger house, or would like their home to be in a different location, they might want more up to date furniture, better food, or more up to date and fashionable clothes.
But it is important NOT to take what you already have for granted, even if you want to improve things. In fact often life starts to improve when you start to appreciate things you may previously have taken for granted.
2. Enjoy The Little Things
It is very easy when we are going through the business of each day to just fail to notice lots of things which actually make our lives better. Every day there are lots of little things that make our life better.
It might be a polite gesture from a stranger, a friend or colleague making us a coffee or helping us out in some way. It might even be getting a seat on a busy train, or finding that you have time to meet up with a friend over lunch or receiving a compliment.
Whatever it happens to be even something very simple like catching a quiet moment with a nice coffee and your favorite magazine – be grateful for that moment and enjoy it!
3. Appreciate People
Most of us spend our days surrounded by people. Some of them of course may be a challenge but unless you are very unlucky the chances are there will be some people who improve our lives.
So, whether it is your partner who makes each day better, a colleague who you often share a laugh with, a friend you share a hobby with, an exercise partner, children who warm your heart or even a helpful neighbor, the chances are that some of the people around you enrich your life so be thankful for them.
4. Delight In Nature
We live in a marvelous world, though of course many of us might live in urban areas where it is easy to forget that. If that is the case then make a point of getting out into nature, hear the birds sing, enjoy the trees and flowers, or catch a sunrise or sunset.
If that is not possible then be grateful for the media we have and soak yourself in some of the world’s wonders. Seeing pictures or videos of our amazing world can definitely lift the spirit and help us feel grateful for our amazing world.
5. Focus On The Positive
The harsh reality is that we can’t always control what happens to us but we can decide in any situation to focus on the positive. It’s like that old proverb that talks about silver linings. In almost every situation, even really difficult or distressing times there will be something that is positive, for example the care of other people, or the opportunity for a chance to change direction. The positive aspects may not be easy to see but they will be there if you are determined to find them and focus on those positive aspects.
In addition to the points above I have spoken to many people who find that starting a gratitude journal can be a great way of training yourself to notice all the things you could be grateful for – you might not need to do it for long to completely change your outlook and that in turn can start to change your life.