Being able to practice gratitude daily is a great virtue. It helps people feel emotions that are positive and healthy. People who practice gratitude get more sound sleep and are kinder and more compassionate towards others. Practicing gratitude also creates an overall feeling of contentment and makes an individual feel satisfied with life. Science has proven that it can also lead to a stronger immune system.
Learning to practice gratitude begins with the understanding that ‘gratitude’ is not something that is meant exclusively for major events in one’s life. One is naturally grateful for things that hold special place in his or her life, like getting admission in a prestigious or desired college, or getting a promotion but what one needs to learn is that he or she can be grateful for things as small as a good cup of coffee after a hard day of work as well. In fact, this is the key to practicing gratitude in daily life. Following are some simple ways to practice gratitude in daily life and reap its wonderful benefits:
1. Nothing is small: When it comes to practicing gratitude the most important thing that we must remember is that nothing is small. One should appreciate and be grateful for every good thing, whether it is the wonderful weather or getting to work on time because, as said before, gratitude is not for the big things alone. Of course inculcating this habit will take time, therefore, begin with finding one thing a day to be grateful for. While being grateful, try to be in the moment completely, notice the minute details and appreciate everything whole-heartedly and with complete conviction. Only then will you be genuinely able to understand the importance and worth of gratitude. Soon you will notice how naturally it comes to you and that there’s so much in life to be grateful for.
2. Just the right comparison: Comparing ourselves to others is quite common considering the amount of time we spend on social media these days. It is quite unavoidable even. But the key to practice gratitude is to know what kind of comparison might help you be grateful. Comparing ourselves with those who seem better will only bring misery and will only rob us of our joys. Therefore, it is imperative to stop comparing ourselves with others if we truly want to be grateful.
Focus on yourself and be thankful for what you have. And at times when you find it difficult to be grateful, look around. You will find that there are so many others who are yearning to have what you have. This will help you appreciate your blessings.
3. Practice mindfulness: Practicing gratitude requires you to be mindful of all the little things around you whose value you fail to realize and those you often take for granted. Getting to office without getting stuck in a bad traffic jam, or taking a walk on a road that is clean and green are little things that often go unnoticed because we are not in the moment. Practicing mindfulness brings gratitude easily. You will notice that by being grateful, you’ve become happier and more empathetic as well.
4. Gratitude journal: Keeping a gratitude journal is a great habit. Develop the habit to write down all the things for which you are grateful daily, no matter how big or small. Keep a journal of all the positive thoughts that you experience while being grateful. It is also a wonderful way of realizing that there is so much in the world to be grateful for. Also, on the days you find yourself miserable or sad or down, this journal will help you feel positive. Practicing gratitude does not mean that you would never feel disappointed, sad, or low. You would, but the journal will surely come handy and will help you bounce back to a happy state quickly. You can keep a daily journal or a weekly journal whichever suits you better, though starting by keeping a daily journal will better serve the purpose.
5. Help others: Helping others or doing something for others, especially without expecting anything in return, can actually boost your happiness. Research has shown that helping others can increase well-being as well. When you bring smile on somebody’s face, you are bound to experience happiness yourself. Not only that, it will also help you be grateful for being able to do something for someone else. Small acts, such as effective listening or doing somebody’s work or simply being kind to others will instantly make you feel contented and give you a positive feeling of being capable.
6. Spend time with family and friends: Spending time with loved ones will not only make your relationships stronger but it will also bring you closer to your loved ones. Knowing that you have a loving family and friends who care, can make you be more grateful and appreciative. It will also provide you opportunities where you can do something for them and practice gratitude. Hence, make it a habit to meet and spend quality time with your family and friends no matter how busy life gets.
7. Consistency is the key: It is well known that it takes 21 days to two months to form a habit. Gratitude too is a kind of habit; and the key to attain it is to remain consistent so that being grateful becomes a part of your behavioral repertoire. Soon you will realize that what required an effort earlier, has ultimately become spontaneous. Thus, even if initially it takes a little effort to look for the things to be grateful for, it will steadily become more and more effortless and spontaneous.