How to Develop a Habit of Gratitude
In this world of want, how often to you stop to take stock of what you already have?
Yep, today we’re talking the practice of gratitude. Put simply, gratitude is all about making a conscious effort to be thankful and show appreciation for our blessings, and return kindness to others and to ourselves.
A growing body of research links the practice of gratitude to reduced stress levels, increased happiness and better motivation. On top of this, gratitude can help to boost mood and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Neat!
Keen to give it a try? Give these easy hacks for incorporating gratitude into your life today.
Notice the good
Take just a minute each day to notice and name three things your grateful for. This could be anything from people in your life, your home, your health, your resilience, the tree that shades you from a hot sun, a good walk or a fantastic meal. It’s amazing what you’ll notice when you take a second to stop.
Try incorporating this practice as part of your daily routine to make a real habit of it – one good way is to write “what are you grateful for today?” on a Post-it and pop it somewhere you visit regularly, like next to the toothbrush or on the back of the toilet door.
Write it down
If you work better by writing things down (we’re looking at you, list makers), try starting a gratitude journal. Making a commitment to jotting down a few short sentences at bedtime will make it more likely you’ll notice the day’s good graces as you go.
Remember the bad
Gratitude is not just about noticing the good, it can also be about reflecting on the bad. Taking a moment to look back on hard times can be wonderful for noticing and our own strength and resilience, and perhaps being grateful for how far we’ve come.
When you come across something great as you go about your day, take a second to really soak up the goodness. Take note of how it made you feel: do you feel lighter, happier, excited? Did it make you smile or laugh?
The more you practice this, the more you’ll be able to savour every happy moment, and the easier it will be to reach for those thoughts when the going gets tough.
Expressing thankfulness to others takes the gratitude game to a whole new level! This could be as simple as showing genuine thankfulness to someone who helps you or taking time to complement people throughout your day.
It could also involve actively taking the time to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, or practicing acts of kindness to others, like helping someone with their shopping or holding the door open.
This is not about expecting anything in return, it’s just about paying it forward – trust us, the incredible feeling of helping another being is payment enough!