The Universe is a beautifully balanced flow of giving and receiving. Both people are blessed when someone gives from a pure heart, and the receiver is honestly grateful. Do you try to make gratitude a habit each day?
According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, gratitude comes from the Latin word for grateful or pleasing. It’s a deep-seated emotion that expresses joy for what’s before you. Gratitude is also related to the word grace, which means to find favor in someone or something.
If you’ve decided to make gratitude a habit, you will probably begin with what you have. You must be thankful for all the people and things that create a beautiful life for you. Many people call it counting your blessings.
While you’re grateful for the things you have, how about the items you don’t have? The world is overflowing with misfortune, disease, and other terrible trials. You are blessed beyond measure to escape some of the pangs others experience.
What are some of the qualities you admire in others? Honesty, integrity, loyalty, and a good sense of humor probably come to mind. How about people who express gratitude?
It’s inspiring to surround yourself with individuals who are positive and grateful for their blessings. However, negative people often voice their dissatisfaction with life and may shift the blame to others. These unhappy folks may have developed this pattern over years of being unthankful.
Eleven Ways to Make Gratitude a Habit
It’s not difficult to see the beauty in your life and be grateful. All it takes is an open heart that’s thankful for material goods and the things money can’t buy. Here are 11 things you can do to encourage more gratitude in your life and do it routinely.
1. Nothing’s Too Insignificant to Appreciate
Of course, you should be grateful for all the stellar things in your life, such as family, friends, and having your needs met. However, you could be missing opportunities to appreciate the small things. When you make gratitude a habit, you realize the full spectrum of your blessings.
Some of these may not be necessary for life, but they sure make the journey more comfortable. When was the last time you were thankful for heat in your home or the appliances that do so much? You may not think about these benefits until something stops working.
2. Add a Daily Gratitude List to Your Journal
If you’ve never kept a journal, now is the best time to start. According to an article published by WebMD, this age-old practice may provide physical and mental benefits. Plus, journaling gives a voice to your thoughts and can help you make gratitude a habit.
You can either combine a gratitude list with your regular journal or compose a separate one. It doesn’t require a lot of time each day to jot down a few blessings. Your daily gratitude list gives you something positive to ponder throughout the day.
3. Practice Mindful Living
Life is too short to go through it at warp speed without awareness and appreciation. Maybe you’re one of the countless people who rush blindly through their workday and pass out in bed at night. Sadly, these folks are often laden with guilt in the twilight of their lives, as they never fully appreciate their blessings.
Deciding to make gratitude a habit is an integral part of mindful living. It’s a way to slow your pace and appreciate each moment. Remember to savor delicious food, linger in long conversations, breathe, and be aware.
4. Show Gratitude to Others
In the hustle of today’s world, it’s easy to forget the kind words and deeds. It only takes a fraction of a second to offer a genuine “thank you.” Also, “no problem” and “yep” can never replace a courteous “you’re welcome.”
To make gratitude, a habit includes expressing your appreciation for other people. Not only are you grateful for generous favors, but you appreciate them as your family, friends, and coworkers. Your sincere gratitude should also extend to those who serve in public and strangers who do a good deed.
While fashion is constantly changing, impeccable manners have never gone out of style. It still shows gratitude when you send people thank-you notes for gifts and other kindnesses. Be the one to go against modern convenience and bypass emails in favor of letters and cards sent via the post office.
5. Discover the Hidden Blessing
Nobody wants to deal with problems and heavy burdens. However, it’s the nature of life, and everyone has them. Dr. Maya Angelou recommends changing things you don’t like. If you can’t change them, she says to change your attitude toward them.
Acceptance can only be cultivated with a heart of gratitude. In some of your bleakest moments, try to find the blessing or silver lining in the situation. While it was a hard blow to lose your job, maybe it’s time for you to have a better one.
Finding the bright spot in your cloudy trials doesn’t negate the pain and disappointment. However, you can often look back and see what they taught you and how they helped you grow. You learn to have empathy and appreciation for the preciousness of life.
6. Keep a Positive Attitude
It’s impossible to be happy all the time, and everyone’s entitled to an occasional bad day. You will have times when you feel overwhelmed with negativity. The good news is that making gratitude a habit can also help you feel more optimistic.
An article published by Harvard Medical School says that being thankful may also improve your health and strengthen your relationships. When you surround yourself with positive energy, you can attract more positive things. You’ll also attract more people with the same optimistic outlook.
7. Say Grace before Meals
You needn’t be a religious person to be thankful for the healthy, delicious food before you. Cultivating gratitude as a habit includes looking beyond yourself to the source of your blessings. Whether you appeal to a divinity or the Universe, you acknowledge that greater forces are at work in your life.
It can be a simple prayer, or you can pause for a moment and think of the farmers, laborers, and all the others that provided the food that sits on your table. Especially be grateful for the hands that lovingly prepared and served you.
8. Practice Giving Back
Remember the many mentors and other benefactors who shared their time and resources to help you along the way? Besides offering your thanks verbally, you can put action to your gratitude by following their examples. Giving back to others and your community keeps the appreciation alive and well.
Even when you have a busy job, you can carve out some time to volunteer. Teach a class in your place of worship or take hot meals to homebound people. Find a new person in your profession and offer to be a mentor and friend.
9. Keep Gratitude Reminders
As a way for making gratitude a habit, try to appeal to your senses. Place quotes and other inspirational words in places you’re bound to see each day. You can write yourself notes on colorful adhesive papers as a fun reminder to be thankful.
Do you have attractive pictures or other lovely works of art that turn your heart toward gratitude? Your tactile reminder can be a sentimental trinket or a piece of jewelry. Even something as simple as a pretty rock or shell in your pocket can evoke a special memory for which you are thankful.
10. Be Grateful for Yourself
Never in history has there ever been someone just like you, nor will there ever be. You are as singular as a snowflake, and you can be grateful for your uniqueness. It’s not narcissistic to love yourself as a person and appreciate your knowledge and skills.
Before you can be thankful for others in your circle, you must appreciate yourself. Practice looking in the mirror each morning and find something attractive about yourself. Self-respect leads to confidence and a positive attitude that allows you to see the good in everyone else.
11. Teach Gratitude to Your Children
If you want your children to make gratitude a habit, they will first learn from you. Have age-appropriate discussions about the meaning of blessings and the importance of being thankful. Even young children get the message with little stories and providing simple examples.