Expressing Gratitude can be simply broken down to appreciating the good things in your life. It doesn’t always seem simple, though. When things are hectic or stressful, finding the silver lining can be challenging.
However, learning how to embrace gratitude can significantly boost your happiness. Being grateful offers a host of other benefits you’re probably not aware of. Let’s take a closer look at the concept, ways it can improve your life and how to practice it.
There are many definitions of gratitude. Some people believe it’s a feeling or emotion. Others look at it as more of a mood. Still, some folks believe gratitude is a personality trait a person exhibits. These can all be correct.
In essence, gratitude elicits satisfaction and appreciation in a person through feelings, actions or even inherent qualities. However, even those of us who may be more inclined to feel grateful on a regular basis through our glass-half-full-optimism likely need to work on evoking such an outlook.
Gratitude can be viewed as a practice or something you perform regularly. Most people practice something because it benefits them. This is true of gratitude. As with other practices, you’ll get better at demonstrating gratitude the more you work at it.
There are many benefits of gratitude; many of them have been scientifically proven. Once you begin to understand these, chances are good that you’ll see why it’s so important to develop a grateful mindset.
Gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Research has shown it to improve relaxation, sleep quality and energy levels.
Being thankful for your blessings can enhance your emotional wellness. You’ll deal better in crisis situations and find you’re more resilient when you’re able to look on the bright side. This can contribute to better relationships, too. Appreciating the positives in life can simply make you feel happier.
3 Ways to Practice Gratitude
Recognizing your blessings may not come easily at first, but there are some ways to help make it a habit and a regular part of your routine.
One of the most convenient and impactful methods for cultivating appreciation is through keeping a gratitude journal. In this practice, you’ll write down three things each day that you’re grateful for, which makes it easier to notice and recognize those good things.
Although keeping a journal is a great way to express gratitude it isn’t one of the 3 on my list. Although the 3 simple ways I am about to share with you are simple they still take work and dedication.
Making an effort to thank someone each day, for even the smallest thing, or do something kind for a stranger, will open your eyes and heart to abundance.
Thanking God on a daily basis for the little things can provide tremendous perspective, as well.
Now you have a better idea of just what making a concerted effort to count your blessings can do for your life. Embracing and expressing gratitude are more important than many of us realize.
Something as simple as expressing thanks to someone can change not only your attitude but theirs as well. A few months back I was having a really bad day at work. I had stopped at Starbucks to grab a Frappuccino and the lady in front of me paid for my order.
Of course there is more to the story. You see I was in a really bad mood that day. I even said to myself at one point “No one ever pays for my order in the drive thru!” Yep. God got me and He got me good with that Starbucks Coffee. (<– click to read the full story)
Start & End Your Day By Counting Your Blessings
One really easy way to get started on a gratitude practice is to make a habit of counting your blessings both morning and night. You don’t even have to write them down, as in a gratitude journal, if that seems too overwhelming.
Simply taking a few minutes when you wake up to express gratitude to God. Before long, you’ll be easily noticing that blessing abound. Here are some tips to help you begin.
Easing into any habit is usually the best approach. By making it easier on yourself, you’ll be more inclined to continue moving forward.
So, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to come up with grand examples of gratitude when you’re just starting out. Just appreciating the bed where you’re starting and ending the day can be something to add to your initial list.
Sometimes simply recognizing a tiny blessing can have a big impact.
You can also try the opposite. Turn complaints around into something positive. Maybe you wake up with a sore back and don’t want to get out of bed.
It may seem obvious, but reminding yourself that you’re in overall good health and that you have a safe place to sleep can do wonders for your outlook. Try to find the silver lining. It really works.
A good habit can be jotting things down during the day as they happen. It only takes a few seconds to make a note of what you feel grateful for in that moment. You can reflect on it later during your quiet bedtime routine.
Hopefully, you now see how getting into the habit of recognizing the good thing in life really isn’t all that difficult. A few small changes to your routine and you’ll find it’s actually quite easy to implement this practice.
You just have to choose to do it.
I Didn’t Always Express Gratitude
Expressing Gratitude was not always so easy for me. I was way too busy being mad and upset all the time that gratitude was the farthest thing from my mind. I always found the negative in everything.
One time I won $100 at work and when they took my picture you could see clearly that my smile was forced. Why? Because I forced it. Yeah I was happy I wont the $100. I definitely needed it. So, why was my smile forced then, you ask?
The year before I had graduated college with a Bachelor Degree and I wanted so badly to find a good paying job. Turned out the place I was working was looking for someone to fill an office position. So of-course I applied!
When I got the call that I had won the money I thought HR was actually calling to tell me I got the position or at least they wanted me to come in an re-interview for it.
So, when the voice on the other end said congratulations you won $100! I was very ungrateful. As bad as I could have used the money at that time, all I could think about was the position.
When I went and picked up the money I expressed no gratitude. Instead, I said a simple thank you and proceeded to ask about the position.
Sadly, most of my life played out like this. I have always been a well mannered and classy lady. Saying thank you and please has always been a part of my vocabulary.
However, you can thank you every day and still not express gratitude.
Find Something Random In Your Environment To Thank God For
If you’re still on the fence about expressing gratitude, I’d like to issue you a simple challenge. Just for today, find just one random thing in your environment to be grateful for and thank God.
This is a low-stakes activity that can be a great way to jumpstart your pursuit of gratitude. Keep reading, and I’ll show you just what I mean.
It’s easy, really. There are things to be grateful for, even on the difficult days. In fact, it’s even more impactful when you discover little rays of light in the darkest times.
A great example of this is a time someone shot my back window on my car with a bb gun and shattered my window. At first I was devastated. I could barely pay my rent at the time let alone pay for a new window!
My neighbor was walking by when he seen me trying to clean up the glass. He offered to help me take the window out so no one got hurt.
While we was chipping away any glass that was left on the frame, I made the conscious decision to express gratitude.
At least it was my back window and not my front window!
If I remember right I even let out a small giggle. And trust me this was not something I would normally do. In fact, I’m pretty sure how I responded even threw my neighbor off balance a little. He couldn’t believe I was so calm and actually laughed about it.
That is when I realized that expressing gratitude can literally change your life. A week later God made a way and my window was fixed.
A church member who owns a body shop was asked by our Chaplin to tape my window up. He had me come back the next day and replaced my window at no charge!
Expressing Gratitude will change your life. But you have to purposely act on it.
Every morning I wake up and say Good Morning to God and thank Him for protecting us while we sleep.
I find things through out the day to thank Him for as well like being able to fill my gas tank up. Or the fact that we was able to pay our electric bill and we didn’t have to make 20 calls begging for help.
It’s how we choose to see things that makes the difference. You can look for anything within your daily routine that inspires you.
If you don’t leave your home that day due to sadness or inability, perhaps the very roof over your head could be your source of gratitude. Even a beautiful flower out your window might be enough to influence your mood for the better. Find just one thing and express gratitude.