Often times life can get so difficult that we sometimes forget to be grateful. When faced with challenges, we can sometimes develop a habit of focusing on the obstacles and forget to express gratitude daily for the positive things that we do have in life.
The truth is that gratitude is a powerful thing. It helps you maintain an open mind when it comes to what is working in your life and it helps motivates you to overcome the challenges.
When you develop an attitude of gratitude, you become healthier, sleep better, and become less prone to depression.
You lessen the chance of wallowing in self pity and become more productive in life. Gratitude allows you to develop the conscious mindset that, though bad things happen in life unexpectedly, we should not allow such events to crush our self esteem.
Gratitude is as important to your overall well being as nutrition or exercise. Thankful people tend to:
- Eat healthier
- Develop stronger immune systems
- Are more productive at work
- Have better friendships
- Sleep better
- Exercise regularly
- Have increased self-esteem and self-worth
- Are better problem solvers
- Experience more energy
- Exhibit more optimism and mental acuity
An attitude of gratitude is often a characteristic of successful people. After all, how can you become successful if you aren’t happy and show thankful appreciation for what life has to offer?
Gratitude Vs. Thankfulness
Thankfulness is a feeling of pleasure and relief, and it is usually manifested by saying “Thank you.”
On the other hand, gratitude means being thankful, and at the same time, doing something to display appreciation for what is received or done.
For instance, if someone helped you carry your heavy luggage, you thanked the person who gave you their assistance. This is displaying thankfulness for what they have done.
On the one hand, when you are grateful to a person who helped you, your gratitude propels you to do something for that person since you sincerely appreciate what has been done for you. Such as, writing them a note, showing an act of kindness, cooking for them, or even extending kindness to other people.
Gratitude can take many forms, and it can be a part of someone’s everyday life. Being grateful nourishes one’s life by feeding one’s mind with appreciation and compassion.
Similarly, having gratitude for the blessings in your life makes your life happier and more meaningful because you complete more kind gestures and actions for yourself and others.
What Is An Attitude of Gratitude?
An attitude of gratitude means that you see the glass as half full instead of half empty. It means that you approach life and handle your affairs with a gratitude mindset filled with opportunity and abundance, not with a scarcity mindset full of despair.
Grateful people are thankful for everything in their life even in moments when things don’t go their way.
You can cultivate a habit of gratitude. Yet, one thing to bear in mind is that gratitude is independent of your circumstances. Therefore, even on the days when nothing seems right, it is important feel gratitude for at least one positive outcome.
As Melody Beattie says,
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.”
Why Is An Attitude Of Gratitude Important
We all know the benefits of a positive mindset. Such a mindset reduces stress and helps you approach obstacles more positively and productively.
Similarly, gratitude has a way of bringing about positive changes in your life.
Gratitude leads to happiness that lasts. It not only increases your level of joy but it also helps you to sustains it.
Gratitude is also good for your emotional and mental health. Yet, so many people struggle to practice it because we often get so fixated on the bad.
Studies show that traumatic events have a more significant impact on our brains than positive ones. As a result, many people tend to struggle with an attitude of gratitude, which is an essential precursor of happiness.
Most people don’t realize that gratitude also helps them develop healthier relationships. When you learn to express appreciation to friends, family members, or your partner, you are likely to strengthen the connection between you and the other person.
13 Ways To Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude
Many people struggle with developing an attitude of gratitude. But the good news is that there are ways to cultivate it.
1. Keep A Gratitude Journal
If someone were to ask you right now what you are grateful for, would you answer them immediately, or would you hesitate? If your answer is the latter, then perhaps you need a gratitude journal.
Each morning you can take time to write down things that you are grateful for (you can start with at least three things).
Practicing gratitude requires consistency. If you get into the routine of writing daily what you are thankful for, you will start each day with a positive attitude.
2. Express Your Gratitude
One of the ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is to express appreciation to others. How often do you tell the people in your life how much they mean to you?
Studies show that when people focus on expressing gratitude, they experience positive emotions and are also more likely to help more people and also feel more connected to others.
Think about the people in your life who have positively impacted you. Do you express thankfulness for what they have done for you?
Make a habit of sincerely thanking them (with a smile). You can start by sending handwritten letters, a thank you note or text or come up with other ways to express how much you appreciate them.
Come up with more ideas and make it a regular habit to propagate a similar mindset because being grateful improves relationships.
3. Practice Gratitude Meditation And Prayer
Another way you can develop an attitude of gratitude is by taking a few minutes out of your day and devoting it to practicing gratitude. A daily gratitude practice that is easy enough to do is through meditation or prayer. This entails mindfully focusing on things you can be grateful for, even when faced with life’s challenges.
There are countless of things to be thankful for:
- A healthy body
- Waking up in the morning
- Loving relationships
- The ability to help others
- Hard-earned accomplishments
- Getting out of debt
- A difficulty in life that made you stronger
It is important to also be grateful for the material things that we have in life. However, always keep in mind that material possessions take a backseat to your health, relationships, and a fulfilling life.
4. Celebrate Small Things
Part of a gratitude mindset is when you develop the habit of expressing gratitude for small things, you are conditioning your mind to focus on the positive rather than the negative things in life. Most people focus on big wins and fail to appreciate the small wins.
However, such an approach can easily demotivate a person because big wins take time and are often an accumulation of many small wins. When you are grateful for small accomplishments, gratitude becomes a habit.
Take time to pause and savor the small things. Instead of obsessing about the future or dwelling on the past, be mindful of the present and relish its blessings.
5. Seek Something To Be Grateful For
The fact that you are alive right now is a reason to be grateful. Yes, there may be some difficulties in life, but each and every day has some positive aspects to it. Instill the habit of counting your blessings each day and seeking what you can be grateful for.
Is it the loved ones who continue to support you? Or the beauty of nature? Make a choice to appreciate everything.
One way people develop an attitude of gratitude is by giving back to others in their local community.
Gratitude means creating opportunities to add value in other people’s lives.
Volunteering will not only make you appreciate the things that you can sometimes take for granted, but studies show that it increases your well-being and your ability to express gratitude.
You can begin your journey with volunteering by deciding what causes you care most about. Next, identify the skills or knowledge that you can offer and decide on how often you are able to volunteer. Take a look online to find local volunteering centers close to you that also match your skillset and passions.
7. Talk About It
Talking about what you are grateful for helps reinforce an attitude of gratitude. Clement Stone once said,
“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.”
You can incorporate a practice of gratitude by saying things like, ‘I’m so grateful I managed to beat traffic today,’ Or, ‘I’m grateful that you helped me finish my project, it would have taken me twice as long otherwise.’
Words have power. The more you find yourself talking about the good things happening in your life, the more positive you will be as a person.
Gratitude gives a positive effect on negative people. Imagine how the world can be if people express thankfulness daily.
8. Seek It
If you want to practice gratitude, surround yourself with people who also have an attitude of gratitude. Some people are bubbly with enthusiasm and have an overwhelming gratitude for life. As they say, one bad apple spoils the bunch.
If you only spend time with people who are constantly negative, your mindset will also focus on the negative. But when you surround yourself with people who express gratitude and are positive, you will find yourself with the same joyful nature.
Have you ever walked into a room full of vibrant, bubbly, or happy people? If you have, then you’ve realized that happiness and positive energy are contagious.
Choose to connect with positive people and be intentional about fostering and developing these types of relationships. The truth is that you will be better off because of them.
9. Spend Time With Loved Ones
If you struggle with being joyful or expressing gratitude, it is important to take time to hang out with loved ones, whether they be friends or family.
This will not only help you grow closer to them and strengthen your relationship but also give you the chance to practice your acts of gratitude on people that you care about.
You can start to express appreciation through simple gestures. For instance, you can begin by paying attention to their stories the next time they share them with you.
Instead of waiting for a chance to speak, you can take a moment to listen to them. Or you can begin a conversation with a difficult member of the family by complimenting them for their new shoes or haircut.
10. Work On Your Happiness In Other Areas Of Life
Being grateful can make you happy, but being happy also contributes to gratitude. There are plenty of ways to make yourself happy. Pay attention to your wqzFor instance, you could resume a hobby that you enjoy or take up a new form of exercise. Once you feel the endorphins flowing, it will be easier to show gratitude.
Many people are not happy in their workplace. So, if this is also your situation, how can you create happiness in this area of your life? You can start by taking charge of your professional and personal development. Develop a plan and set goals for your career, and pursue them. That way, you’ll be able to find meaning in your career.
If, for example, you have issues in your marriage, you can look for ways to improve the situation by being grateful for the good aspects of the relationship and work on what you can personally do to improve other aspects of the relationship.
Whatever area of your life makes you sad, you can look for ways to handle it while still maintaining a grateful attitude.
11. Understand That Other People’s Generosity Comes At A Cost
When people are kind or generous towards you, it is important to show appreciation for that generosity. No one likes being used.
So, when other people help us, and we fail to appreciate them, we are cultivating that feeling, which expressed that we didn’t recognize or care about their efforts.
Thankfulness is a habit that requires you to realize that it costs people to help, serve, or give to you even when they are simple favors.
The teammate at work who helped you with your project could have spent that time working on a personal errand or their own work, or the neighbor who agreed to babysit your child for an hour could have spent that time with their own family.
When you take the time to realize this, you’ll be more willing to appreciate others.
12. Realize That Not All People Receive The Same Opportunities That You Get
There is a high possibility that not many people get the same opportunities you may receive or will receive in the future. Some people could only wish for what you have, for example, children, a home, a job, your health, etc.
For instance, instead of wishing that you went to a prestigious university, you can be thankful for the free education you got from the state university. What’s important is that you have the opportunity to complete school and continue chasing your dreams.
Gratitude also requires us to continuously watch our mood. It can be easy to slip back into our old ways of negative thinking.
A way to combat this is to list down the opportunities that you have received in your life. Or, you can develop the habit of listing the opportunities you receive on a regular basis, such as, “I am grateful that I got the chance to take the woman I like out on a date.”
13. Be A Good Steward Of The Opportunities Or Things You Receive
Gratitude means being a good steward of what has been given to you. It’s a sign that you truly value it.
For instance, if your parents adopted you, you can show gratitude towards them by spending time with them and helping them where you can. If you were given a pay increase, you can express gratitude by being diligent in your work.
The Bottom Line
It’s never too late to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your own life. However, you have to work on it and commit to purposely changing your mindset.
What are you grateful for? When you sit down for dinner, you can express one thing that you’re grateful for that happened that day.
When you develop an attitude of gratitude, you’ll naturally feel happier and more positive. Push negative thoughts away. Grab a journal and get started with these 13 tips.
Start practicing gratitude today!