It can be easy to get swept away in the fast lane and forget to stop and show your appreciation for what you do have. A life well lived is one of gratitude and thankfulness. We become especially aware of this as we kick off the season of Thanksgiving and the holidays. To help you on your gratitude journey, here are some ways to practice mindfulness and gratitude in your daily life.
For many people, the key to having more gratitude is to give back to others in their local community. Not only will it make you more grateful for the things that you may take for granted, but studies have shown that volunteering for the purpose of helping others increases our own well-being, and thus our ability to have more gratitude. In other words: helping others helps you!
2. Don’t be picky: appreciate everything
Gratitude doesn’t have to be saved for the “big” things in life. The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for. Even if it is as simple as appreciating the clear weather or how quickly your mailman delivered your mail last Friday, don’t leave anything out when practicing your gratitude.
3. Find gratitude in your challenges
Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. In fact, sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for. Dig a little deeper into some of your own past challenges and how you have learned from them. There is always a lesson in every season of life.
4. Practice mindfulness
Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. The trick is that you need to picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day can rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier. Your brain is a powerful tool and training it towards gratitude is all part of ensuring that the gratitude comes more easily as you practice.
5. Spend time with friends and family
If you’re struggling with feeling grateful in the moment, go spend time with your friends, family, or even your furry companion. Of course, it will help you grow closer to them and strengthen your relationship, but it will also give you a chance to practice your acts of gratitude on people that you care about. This can even be something small. For instance, why don’t you make sure you’re listening intently the next time someone shares a story with you instead of waiting for your own chance to speak? Or start a conversation with a difficult member of the family by complimenting their new shoes or haircut. You never know how a simple compliment can light up someone’s day!
6. Keep a Gratitude Journal
An effective way to remind yourself to be thankful for everything you have is to make a list each day. Create a list or journal entry of things you’re thankful for right now. Add to that list each time you think of something else you’re grateful for. The more you are aware of the things you do have, the less time you will spend worrying about the things you don’t have. Over time, happiness and gratitude will come more naturally.
Make practicing gratitude part of your routine this holiday season. Be generous with your time, love, volunteer for others in need and be a listening ear to those who need it. Gratitude is essential for healthy relationships and to help you lead a happy, fulfilling life.