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We all know what gratitude means. But how many of us practice it daily? We may feel grateful for our loved ones, our relationships, and other things in our lives. But do we spend enough time on feeling and expressing that sense of gratitude?
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘attitude of gratitude’ - Isn’t it wonderful? By developing the right attitude towards our lives, we can learn to express gratitude every day. Studies have even shown the benefits, one 2012 study found gratitude is good for health, while another study from 2006 found a sense of gratitude can help you become mentally stronger.
So, with plenty of benefits in store for those who discover the power of gratitude and express it each day, let’s see how we can develop a gratitude mindset.
START EACH DAY AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON
Instead of beginning each day by focusing on your huge to-do list, take a moment when you wake up to remind yourself of this new mindset. There are always things to be grateful for, even before you get out of bed. Start each day this way and it will help you keep this in mind as you progress through the day ahead.
SHOW THOSE YOU LOVE YOUR APPRECIATION
We are probably all guilty of taking people for granted. Perhaps your loved one did something nice for you recently and you didn’t properly thank them for it. Maybe a relative babysat for you, or met the kids from school, or does something else regularly that you have taken for granted.
Now is the time to be more appreciative. This leads to stronger and more rewarding relationships in lots of diverse ways. One study even found grateful people develop more new friendships – and it is not hard to see why!
SHOW YOURSELF SOME APPRECIATION!
This one is harder, isn’t it? We are very good at comparing ourselves to others in a negative way. And yet, if we think about it, there are lots of things we could appreciate in and of ourselves, too.
Try it – make a list of things you have achieved, either today or during the past few days. They don’t need to be big things or grand gestures. Perhaps you held a door open for someone, or finished that big project you were working on. Maybe you finally reached the bottom of that pile of ironing! Whatever it is, jot it down. If you begin to do this each day, you will find your sense of gratitude will grow.
BEGIN A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
This could be a small journal you carry with you everywhere you go, so you can jot things down throughout the day, or part of your daily journaling practice. There are so many journals now created especially for this, my favourites are the ones that encourage you to find a few minutes at the start and end of your day to reflect on all that you are grateful for.
You’ll notice how this becomes a positive source of inspiration. And, if you begin your day in a less-than-positive mood, flick back through your journal and it will help you get back on track.
TRY AND CATCH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS WHEN THEY APPEAR
What do I mean by this? Many people view the world in a negative way, and this isn’t conducive to developing a gratitude mindset. Quite the opposite. But it takes time to develop such a mindset, so it makes sense to be alert to negative thoughts when they make an appearance.
Maybe you catch yourself looking at your friend’s car, which is new and sparkling and far more exciting than yours. Maybe you constantly compare yourself to others and put yourself down by doing so. Whatever you do, you should focus on the positives and try to eliminate the negatives. If someone ignores you for holding the door for them, let it slide. Feel grateful you were taught such good manners to start with! There are ways to feel more grateful about every aspect of your life, even those areas you may struggle with.
Since there are so many physical, mental, and emotional benefits to developing a mindset of gratitude, why not start cultivating that mindset now? Use the above suggestions to help you, but remember no mindset can be entirely changed overnight. A lot depends on how grateful you are to begin with, and how open you are to develop these new habits.
But I promise you, the power of gratitude is one that will shine through every area of your life. Make sure you appreciate that power and begin to harness it today. In fact, you could say that feeling appreciative of that power is the best way to begin.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.