Gratitude can be an incredibly transformative emotion. It can shift our focus from what we lack to what we have. Gratitude has been linked to numerous physical and mental health benefits, like reducing stress, increasing happiness, and improving relationships.
Becoming a more grateful person can improve your overall happiness in all areas of life. In a world where we are constantly hit with messages of what we should have and what we should aspire to, it is easy to forget to be grateful for the things we already have.
The great news is that gratitude is a skill so that it can be developed and nurtured. There are many ways to become more grateful, and you’ll notice countless benefits in doing so. In this article, I will explore eight ways to improve your gratitude and how to make it a daily practice.
How to improve your gratitude
Gratitude is a skill that must be exercised to improve. But putting in the effort is worth it. You can do some things to improve your gratitude: keep a gratitude journal, develop a mindful mindset, volunteer, spend quality time with your loved ones, and say thank you more often. Even though some of these seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things, they actually are enormous in improving your gratitude.
1. Start and keep a gratitude journal
Starting a gratitude journal is a magnificent and effective way to foster a more grateful attitude. Despite its fancy name, or at least I think naming a journal is fancy, it’s actually quite simple to begin a gratitude journal.
All it involves is setting aside a couple of minutes every day to reflect on the things you are thankful for and then writing them down in a journal. Remember that you can feel gratitude for anything, and there are no specific rules for expressing it. You can write it in paragraph form, list it, draw it, etc.
Any way that feels good to you. Keeping a gratitude journal is an effective way to shift your focus to the good parts of your life and boost feelings of happiness and contentment. Studies suggest that practicing gratitude regularly can lead to enhanced overall well-being, lower stress levels, and even better physical health.
How to start a gratitude journal:
To start a gratitude journal, find a notebook you like. Then, set aside some time each day, such as before bed or in the morning, to reflect on what you are grateful for. Write down at least three things you feel thankful for each day.
Examples are being grateful for good health, a supportive friend, or seeing a beautiful sunset. Be specific and descriptive, and try to reflect on the emotions and thoughts associated with each thing you are grateful for.
Explore your feelings and emotions with your words. You can also mix it up by writing about different areas of your life, such as relationships, careers, or personal growth. If you want more of a guided approach please check out the SDJ manifestation journal.
2. Become more mindful
Being more mindful is a terrific tool to help improve gratitude. Mindfulness focuses on the present moment without any judgment, allowing you to fully appreciate and savor the positive aspects of your life.
By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to tune out the noisiness of negative thoughts and worries that can cloud your mind and prevent you from feeling grateful. Instead, practicing mindfulness can enable you to recognize and appreciate the positive aspects of your life, even if they are seemingly insignificant.
By observing and appreciating these moments, you can develop a greater sense of gratitude and overall well-being. When you’re more mindful, you’re more aware of what’s in front of you and can be more grateful.
Volunteering is a terrific way to cultivate gratitude. By helping others, we can become more aware of our own blessings and feel grateful for what we have.
When we volunteer, we get to see firsthand the impact we can have on someone’s life, which can be incredibly rewarding. Volunteering can offer us a fresh outlook on our difficulties and obstacles, leading to a greater appreciation for what we may have overlooked in the past.
4. Spend quality time with loved ones
Spending time with loved ones can improve your gratitude in many ways. Being around the people you care about can remind you of all the good things you have in your life, such as supportive relationships and happy memories. It can also allow you to express gratitude directly to those individuals.
Furthermore, engaging in activities with loved ones can help you cultivate positive emotions and strengthen your social connections, which are associated with greater gratitude. Whether having a meal together, going for a walk, or simply spending quality time, being with loved ones can significantly boost your gratitude.
5. Express gratitude out loud
Expressing gratitude out loud can help to solidify the positive feelings associated with gratitude and make them more tangible. By vocalizing your gratitude, you are taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate the people and things you are thankful for in your life.
This can help cultivate a more positive and optimistic mindset, which can lead to improved overall well-being and a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment. Additionally, expressing gratitude out loud can also positively impact the people around you, as it can serve as a reminder of the positive impact they have had on your life and encourage them to continue to support and uplift you.
6. Say thank you more often
Saying “thank you” more often can improve your gratitude by increasing your awareness and appreciation of the positive aspects of your life. It can help you to recognize the efforts of others and the blessings you have in your life.
Expressing gratitude also promotes positive social interactions, strengthening your relationships and creating a more positive environment. Saying “thank you” can also increase feelings of happiness and reduce stress.
It is a simple but compelling way to shift your focus toward positivity and abundance. By consciously saying “thank you” more often, you will cultivate a habit of gratitude that can have long-lasting benefits for your mental and emotional well-being.
7. Look for the silver lining when you’re faced with challenges
Looking for silver linings in challenges can make you more grateful as it shifts your perspective from focusing on the negative to find the positive. It allows you to see the good that can come out of a problematic situation, fostering a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the positive outcomes.
This practice can also help you develop resilience and a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities for personal growth and development. By reframing the way you perceive challenges and setbacks, you can cultivate a more positive and grateful outlook on life.
8. Practice meditation on gratitude
Incorporating gratitude meditation into your daily routine can greatly improve your gratitude. By reflecting on the positive parts of your life and expressing gratitude for them, you can train your mind to focus on the good rather than the negative. Gratitude meditation involves sitting quietly, taking deep breaths, and visualizing things you are grateful for.
This can include people, experiences, or even just the basic necessities of life. By practicing gratitude meditation regularly, you can shift your mindset to abundance and positivity, improving your overall well-being and satisfaction with life. It can also help reduce your stress and anxiety, making coping with life’s challenges more manageable.
In conclusion, practicing gratitude has numerous benefits, including increased happiness, better mental health, and improved relationships. By incorporating these eight practices into our daily lives, we can cultivate greater gratitude and appreciation for all we have.
Whether it’s starting a gratitude journal, being more mindful, volunteering, spending time with loved ones, expressing gratitude out loud, saying thank you more often, looking for silver linings in challenges, or incorporating gratitude meditation, these simple but powerful techniques can help us shift our perspective towards gratitude and live a more fulfilling life. By consciously practicing gratitude, we can cultivate an optimistic mindset that can improve our lives.
Natasha MacFarlane is a writer, blogger, and mental health advocate. After being diagnosed in her 20’s with bipolar disorder, Natasha has worked tirelessly to educate others’, culivate community, and share her experiences to ensure no one ever feels alone. In doing so, Natasha has two self-published poetry books exploring some of her darkest times, 2 blogs, and an Instagram community that has grown exponentially in it’s only 6 months of being around. When Natasha isn’t writing, you can find her walking in nature with her toes in the grass, listening to her favorite true crime podcasts or playing soccer with her 3 kids. Natasha enjoys a slower pace of life in a small rural Manitoba town with her husband three kids and is fueled by her passion for words.