These days, things can be tough for just about everyone. Even if our struggles vary, we all face hard times at some point in life. But that shouldn’t take our focus away from the things we can be grateful for. Thinking about what we have as opposed to what we don’t can make all the difference in how we feel and go about our day-to-day. Let’s talk about the benefits of a “gratitude practice” and how to start one.
Why Is Gratitude Important?
The word gratitude comes from the Latin root gratus, which means “thankful” or “pleasing.” Gratitude is all about appreciating what we have or what we’ve been given, and it is strongly associated with greater happiness. When people feel gratitude, they are able to have more positive emotions, cherish good experiences, build stronger relationships, and endure trials, big and small. Overall, gratitude leads to a better satisfaction with life.
How to Start a Gratitude Practice
Here are a few practical things you can do to practice gratitude on a regular basis.
- Appreciate the little things. You don’t have to save gratitude for the “big” things in life. This healthy habit starts with appreciating every little thing in life, whether it be the clothes on your back, the food on your table, good weather, or even just getting a package in the mail. You don’t need to leave anything out when you’re practicing gratitude.
- Fill your mind with gratitude. Take some time out of the day and think of at least ten things you can be grateful for. They can be things you experienced in the day or the little aspects of your life. Doing this will help rewire your brain to naturally practice gratitude and feel happier.
- Start a gratitude journal. If picturing things in your mind can be hard, write it down instead! Sometimes you just need to get your thoughts down on paper to view them with clarity. Writing down the things you are grateful for will also give you something to come back to later; do a weekly or monthly review of your gratitude journal and remind yourself of all the things you can appreciate.
- Express gratitude to other people. Saying “thank you” can go a long way, especially in your relationships. But letting people know that you appreciate them not only encourages them but also helps you build up your own gratitude and happiness. Try calling or texting someone just to say what you appreciate about them and see what it can do for your relationship.
- Spend time with your loved ones. Nowadays, this can mean an evening webcam session, but that doesn’t take away the importance of it. Spending time with friends and family gives you the opportunity to practice gratitude, whether it is appreciating the little things about the people in your life or just appreciating the fact that they’re in your life! Also, instead of venting about day-to-day struggles, use the time to listen to other people and see how they’re doing. This will help you find big or small ways you can support and encourage them.
There’s never a bad time to practice gratitude and get those endorphins flowing. As we all struggle through life together, let’s make it a habit to appreciate what we have every day.