If you make time for daily gratitude, you will be amazed by the results.
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
– Meister Eckhart
What it means to be grateful.
Gratitude means thankfulness. Counting your blessings. Noticing simple pleasures. Acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything is a miracle. It also means being aware on a continuous basis of how much you have been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.
What gratitude does to you.
- Practising daily gratitude makes people happier and more resilient.
- Being grateful strengthens relationships.
- Practising daily gratitude improves health. In the long run, it makes you have a stronger immune system.
- Having a habit of practising daily gratitude reduces stress.
- People who practice gratitude experience more positive emotions.
- Practising daily gratitude makes you feel more alive.
- Practising daily gratitude makes you sleep better.
- Being grateful makes you more empathetic. You practice more compassion and kindness.
Gratitude can be practised any time
Gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved only for some occasions. Most of us only show gratitude for big things such as receiving a promotion at work. Instead, be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
How to start?
Think about all the things you could be thankful for today.
Start by looking around you. Are you in the comfort of your own home? Are you drinking your morning coffee? Enjoying your very own moment when you get to relax and spend some time taking in the calm? Do you have a job that you like? Do you have one special friend that always makes you smile? Such simple things that you experience daily is what you should be grateful for.
Let’s be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust
Benefits of practising daily gratitude on a personal level
1. Gratitude improves physical health.
Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains. They report feeling healthier than other people. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups. This is likely to contribute to further life longevity.
2. Gratitude improves psychological health.
Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions. These toxic emotions include envy, resentment, frustration and regret. Research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
3. Grateful people sleep better.
Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed. You will sleep better and longer.
4. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
Gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
5. Gratitude increases mental strength.
For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.
Importance of practising daily gratitude to your external life
Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
2. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
Grateful people are more likely to behave in a pro-social manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
How to cultivate daily gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Every day before going to bed, write down five or more things that happened that day that you are grateful for. It is not as easy practice to have. Once you get used to it, you will realize it will transform a lot of situations in your life that you previously viewed negatively. Keeping a gratitude journal is known to be one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways to effect change in people’s lives. Oprah Winfrey wrote a very easy to read book Oprah Winfrey-What I Know For Sure that talks about the joys of practising gratitude. You should definitely get yourself a copy!
2. You can also list just five things for which you’re grateful every week. When you do this for a period of about 3 months, you will realize that you will start experiencing more happiness in your daily life. With time, this could translate to doing it on a daily basis.
3. Keeping a happy gratitude jar in your room for a year. Get a transparent jar and colourful pieces of paper. Every time something awesome happens to you, e.g. if you get a promotion at work, write it on the paper and put it in the jar. Practice this for a year and at the end of the year, read all the gratitude notes that you wrote for yourself. This will significantly shift your mindset because you will realize that you are more blessed than you thought! This is also one of the best New Year’s gifts you could ever give yourself. A jar of happiness.
4. Make a list of things that make you happy, do them and be grateful for having an opportunity to do them. You can also find more Fun ways of practising gratitude on Happify!
How to express gratitude to people around you
1. Practice counting your blessings on a regular basis.
You can try it as the first thing in the morning or in the evening. Every morning when you wake up, choose happiness instead of frustration. Speak positivity upon yourself. Be positive about the simple things such as having your morning coffee or a roof over your head. Be grateful for having a loving family and friends. Remind them that you appreciate and love them often. This will also inspire them to be grateful as the positive energy will rub off on them.
2. Practice gratitude through giving.
Decide to do a kind thing to somebody every day. This can be very small things such helping an elderly person carry their bag up the stairs. This shows that you are grateful for the things that you have been privileged to own or have. Teach kids to practice gratitude by sharing. Practices like these teach kids to grow up with a daily gratitude attitude. They learn to ‘pay it forward’.
3. Be grateful for what you can give instead of what you can receive.
Thinking of gratitude differently is important. You can practice gratitude by being grateful to people who give you the chance to help them. This is a powerful way of being grateful as the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for!
You deserve happiness. By making a conscious decision to do very simple things such as keeping a daily gratitude journal, you will have made the first step towards your best life. You are your most important person. Do it for yourself and see you on the happiness side!