Gratitude is a powerful, healing tool that can transform your life. Many types of psychotherapy encourage clients to use gratitude to counteract the symptoms of depression, stress, and even anxiety. Being more grateful requires you to stop what you’re doing and turn your attention to the present moment.
Rather than focusing on what you lack or wish you had, a grateful mindset can remind you of all that you do have, whether it’s a loving family or qualities you possess. Read on to discover eight ways you can infuse each day with a little more gratitude.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Journaling is a traditional form of self-therapy that gives you complete freedom to talk to your own thoughts and feelings. While many people turn to journal as a way to release pent-up frustration and lamentations, you can also turn your journal into a source of positivity by using it to write down things you’re grateful for.
You may find it difficult to find anything you’re grateful for in the beginning. Don’t be ashamed. Many people feel the same way, especially when they are going through a tough time. To help, consider treating yourself to a gratitude journal.
Gratitude journals feature structured pages and prompt that will help you become more grateful. Find some of the best gratitude journals here, which will help you become more mindful and at one with your life.
2. Count Your Blessings
On the same page of gratitude journals, consider keeping a list of blessings you encounter every day. They don’t have to be miracles to be blessings. In fact, some of the most comforting blessings are extremely ordinary. Here are just a few examples:
- The first sip of coffee or tea in the morning.
- A phone call with your best friend.
- The sound of your child’s laughter.
- Petting your dog or cat.
- Wearing an outfit you like.
- Reading a book.
3. Challenge Obstacles With Positivity
Gratitude doesn’t have any prerequisites. You can be grateful even in the midst of a terrible situation, not for the pain or circumstances but for the lessons they provide. Losing a loved one is an opportunity to be grateful for your memories, as well as the impact they had on your life.
Being grateful won’t erase the pain or fix everything, but it can be a nice way to nurture ourselves and find the strength to carry on. Gratitude counters hopelessness and inspires us to keep moving forward.
4. Find Gratefulness in Self-Expression
Take time for yourself, and embrace how much you can express simply by being. Even your planner can be a canvas for self-expression. Adult life is often constricted by rules and expectations, many of which are self-inflicted.
Although you may have a great deal of responsibility, you always have a way to find some reprieve. Even the simple act of dotting an “I” with a heart is something to be grateful for.
5. Give Back to Others
When we are kind to others, we are reminded of our own values. Humans are social creatures, and even the most introverted ones need to feel a sense of connection and purpose in their lives. Volunteer your time in a way that means something to you, whether it’s helping out at church, serving at a soup kitchen or volunteering at an animal shelter on the weekends.
Opportunities to help others aren’t always so formal, either. Hold open the door for a stranger, or ask your barista how their day is going when you stop in your local cafe for a coffee.
The ability to give back, even with just a smile, makes you and another person grateful.
6. Use Your Skills for Good
Think about ways you can apply yourself in new ways. Maybe you want to start selling your hand-made crafts on Etsy, or perhaps you can knit and would like to make some booties and hats for premature babies at the local hospital. There are many ways to apply ourselves, even if those ways are just helping ourselves.
Being grateful for our strengths makes us more confident, which inspires us to put ourselves out there more.
7. Practice Self-Care
Self-care can be as simple as making your bed in the morning. Be grateful for the small ways you can remind yourself that you love you each day. Writing a list of your favorite attributes in your gratitude journal is a good way to always have a reminder of your best qualities when you’re feeling low.
Remember that everyone gets disappointed or feels bad about themselves now and again. Your self-doubt doesn’t make you any less valuable, and that is something to be grateful for.
8. Make Time for “The Little Things”
Even if you love your job, it’s important to stop and smell the roses on your way to work. Remember that life happens in small moments, too. Whether it’s taking an extra five minutes to walk your dog another block or reading your child one more bedtime story, be grateful in all the ways we can simply be at one with ourselves and the ones we love.