Gratitude is one of the most positive emotions you can feel, and it comes from being grateful for all that you have no matter how big or small. Gratitude can overpower negative emotions and induce positivity into your life. When you are grateful for what you already have, you open the door for more good things to come your way. When you feel you are lacking in life, confirmation bias causes you to seek out things to reinforce this belief, and you will be more focused on the negative. On the contrary, when you are thankful for all that you have and feel grateful for your current state, you will continue to subconsciously look for things to be grateful for, thus raising your emotional well-being.
How to Practice Gratitude:
1. Keep a running list or journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to practice gratitude as it forces you to be thoughtful about what you are grateful for rather than listing the same things every time. Think of specific things you are grateful for and keep a list that you can look back on when you are feeling down.
2. Reflect on how far you’ve come
It’s easy to lose sight of your progress and how much you’ve grown and improved. Take time to reflect on your past and be grateful for your progress. You are constantly learning and evolving, so be thankful for the growth you have made.
3. Show thanks with intention
You probably say “thank you” at least a few times throughout your day, but how many of those times are you truly genuine with your thanks and not just saying it as an instinct? Next time somebody does something kind for you, give them a genuine thanks by saying their name, looking them directly in the eye, and elaborating on specifically what you are thankful for. You don’t have to wait for somebody to do something for you to give thanks either. Find someone who has been supportive or loving toward you recently and share your gratitude with them.
Often, we get so caught up in our busy lives, we forget to take a moment here and there to center ourselves and be present. Meditating can help anchor you in the moment and you can use this time to think about things for which you are grateful. Focusing on your breath and your surroundings will grant you a chance to ground yourself, reflect, and relish in the simple joy of breathing.
With practice, eliciting gratitude with be second nature to you and you will be able to reap the benefits such as reduced stress and increased overall positivity. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can rewire your brain and improve your overall mental health. The benefits of gratitude do not happen overnight, but rather deepen over time to better your mindset and outlook on life as well as your physical and mental well-being.