Putting forth the effort to be grateful in your everyday life is a beautiful way to live happier. When you concentrate more on the things you are thankful for, the easier it becomes to see the good around you.
It’s time to make a habit out of being grateful. Learning how to build an attitude of gratitude is a fantastic first step toward an optimistic lifestyle. And once you cultivate that attitude, there’s no doubt you will want it to stick sound.
1. Show Gratitude For Everything
The best way you can build your new attitude of gratitude is to simply be mindful of it as often as you can in your life.
Don’t reserve your shows of gratitude for only the big things that happen. Make sure you appreciate everything. It’s so much easier to be optimistic when you realize how great the small things are. Get in the habit of saying, “I am grateful,” as you’re experiencing your life.
So, actively be thankful for the sunny weather or the light traffic during your drive to work. Appreciate your afternoon snack and your shower. Just because you experience it often doesn’t mean it’s not something you should be abundantly grateful for. This focus on your gratitude will make it easier for you to recall things when you do sit down to write in your journal.
2. Find a Positive in Every Negative
Everyone goes through bad times. What’s essential in cultivating this kind of attitude is looking back on the rough patches with some positivity. Find reasons to be thankful for them if you can. Maybe they made you stronger. Perhaps they taught you something about yourself. Possibly they introduced you to someone important in your life.
Looking back on difficult things with a focus on any piece of good is the key.
And when you see or hear about bad situations that don’t even involve you, remember to be grateful for what you have in your life. Take the opportunity to voice how thankful you are for the good you get to experience. It honestly makes a world of difference.
3. Keep a Record of Your Gratitude
A gratitude journal is one of the best ways to ensure you are focusing on your thankful attitude day after day. All you have to do is spend some time when you wake up in the morning or right before you go to bed to write down three or more things you are grateful for. There’s no catch. It’s that simple.
Depending on your preference, you could just jot down a sentence about what you’re grateful for. Or you could write an entire page going into detail about each thing you’re thankful for and why. If you’re the type to enjoy having a prompt to work from, you’re not alone. There are plenty of gratitude journal prompts available to fill your journal from cover to cover with thankfulness.
A similar practice includes writing the things you are grateful for on slips of paper and putting them in a gratitude jar. Both of these methods achieve the same goal. They give you time to think about what you appreciate. And when you’re feeling down, they are helpful reminders of what makes you the happiest.
4. Write to Someone You’re Grateful For
Writing a letter or an email to someone you are thankful for can lift your spirits and remind you of the wonderful people in your life. Even if you don’t intend to actually send the letter, just writing the message is an excellent way to be grateful. Address it to a friend, a family member, or a stranger who did something thoughtful for you once.
Expressing your gratitude in any form helps cement it in your mind. If you are okay with letting them know how you feel, making a phone call or talking to them in person is even better than writing it down.
5. Go for a Nice Gratitude Walk
Going for a walk is incredibly therapeutic on its own, but it can be even more so when you have gratitude in the forefront of your mind. Take your time; notice the things around you. Be in the moment and be thankful for what you experience with your senses. The air you breathe. The sun or rain on your skin. The sounds of birds. The feel of the ground.
The beauty around you.
Ask someone you love to come with you and share this attitude of gratitude with them. Being thankful is so much better when it’s shared.
6. Take the Time to Give Back
Volunteering is a great way to keep the attitude of gratitude around you at all times. You will get to see firsthand how grateful others are for your help. Plus, it will remind you to be thankful for what you have in your life instead of always wishing for more. Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, any small act of kindness can boost your mood and make you feel more optimistic.
Try to incorporate an act of kindness, planned or not, into your daily life. Something as simple as making someone smile with a sincere compliment spreads the thankfulness.
7. Spend Time With the People You Love
When you’re feeling at your lowest and finding it difficult to feel thankful, go spend some time with your friends and family. Surround yourself with love. Being close to the people you love and the people you are most grateful for will remind you of what you have to be thankful for.
8. Put Focus on Your Happiness
While it’s true that an attitude of gratitude can contribute to your happiness, the opposite is also true. When you’re feeling happy, it’s much easier to express your appreciation. So make sure you are doing the things that make you happy. Keep up your favorite hobbies. Make time to read or write. Go for hikes or do yoga or hit the beach. You can’t neglect your happiness and expect to feel optimistic all the time.
9. Do These Things Every Single Day
It takes, on average, 66 days to form a habit. That’s nine weeks, two months to rewire your brain to default to this attitude of gratitude. Let yourself be human; don’t give up if you have a bad day. Pick yourself up again and keep on going. Your outlook on life will start to change before you know it.
Being grateful is a skill you’ll need to practice like any other. It’s much easier to get swept up in the current of the bad in the world. Don’t let it derail you! You can, and you will form this habit of gratitude. After a week or so, it will become second nature to look on your life with thankfulness day in and day out. You won’t remember what it was like before your attitude was all about gratitude.
Karen Lein is the General Manager of Copper Beech
Townhomes and [Grove San Marcos]. She is a Fresno State alumna and enjoys traveling and watching