- Mental Health
How to Start Practicing Gratitude
Why Practice Gratitude
Being thankful for what you do have in your life, even when things generally seem to be on a downward slide, instead of always focusing on what you are lacking in your life has many positive benefits for enriching life and uplifting emotional and physical health.
The hard part is learning how to practice gratitude as a daily part of your life. It is easy to think of what is going wrong in life: lack of a job, mounting bills, health issues and bad relationships. This list could go on and on. . .
So many problems that seem impossible to handle drag down your self-confidence, make you feel depressed, lead to overwhelming stress and associated health problems and take the enjoyment out of life.
Think about how a simple “thank you” can make you feel. Doing something for someone else and receiving that person's heartfelt thanks can uplift your day in the same way that someone helping you out of a bind can make you feel grateful and hopeful for the good that can be in the world and within people. Gratitude can help you feel better today.
4 Ways to Start Practicing Gratitude
- Appreciate Thank Yous: Give and receive thanks yous graciously with no guilt or dismissive attitude. Allow yourself to receive the positive-ness of someone else’s gratitude. Accept the kindness of others and express your own gratitude.
- Stop Unfairly Comparing Yourself to Others: You have a choice when you compare yourself to others ~ comparing yourself to someone that has more than you or someone who is less fortunate. On one side, you dump on yourself. On the other side, you dump on someone else. Instead keep your perspective. There will always be people who seem to have more than you and there will always be people worse off than you. The important point is that whatever your situation is ~ it can always be worse. So, stop unfairly comparing yourself to others and putting yourself down. You are your own unique person with your own unique path. Embrace your own journey.
- Start and End You Day with Gratitude: Wake up and state a reason you are grateful for the day ~ even if it is just one small thing that you are thankful for ~ and express your thanks. After going through your day, even if it was a bad day, think of one thing you appreciated about the day and say thank you before going to bed. Doing this every single day means you will begin and end your day on a positive note. Pretty soon you will begin to develop a positive attitude.
- Show Your Love for Your Loved Ones: Expressing your love and support for the loved ones in your life is a way to show your gratitude that they are in your life. Being kind and generous of your affection for your friends, family and significant others reminds you what is important and life and lets them know they are appreciated. Gratitude is not always about saying thank you. Gratitude can be about appreciating and valuing the time you spend with an important person and enjoying the moment with that person.
Life is crap on many days. Horrible things happen and will keep happening to you. Expressing even a small amount of gratitude each day can improve your mental health and give you a more positive and optimistic outlook on life. Don't you want a reason to get up in the morning and face another day. If the only thing you are thankful for is your doggy or kitty cat, then start with that ~ tell your pets that they are the best and give them a kiss and say thanks for being in my life. You will feel better just for putting that out there in the universe. Please give it a try and feel free to share how you express gratitude.