“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie
Creating a strong gratitude habit in your life when things are going well is like having insurance for the bad times. When life gets difficult, you will have a powerful antidote already in place to help you get through the tough stuff.
There’s also a lot to be said for being mindful of our blessings during the good times. For one thing, we take more pleasure in them. It’s easy to ignore the small positive moments in our day as we rush between activities but stopping to appreciate those moments makes them more powerful and memorable.
Here are 7 ways to build a gratitude habit into your life.
- Say out loud three things you are grateful for in that day.
If you have kids, it’s a great dinner table activity but it’s just as powerful done on your own. Saying them out loud actually lets your brain hear them differently as opposed to simply thinking them.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Reflect on your blessings and why they are important to you. The act of writing impresses them on a different part of your brain vs typing. Plus, when you have a bad day, it’s a written record to remind yourself about things to be thankful for.
3. Say thank you to your partner and family.
We often overlook those closest to us but kindness begins at home. Expressing real gratitude creates trust and deepens the bonds of family.
4. Send three gratitude messages a week via technology.
Rather than go down another rabbit hole, use your power for good. We all know there’s a lot of judgment and ugliness out there these days. A little gratitude from all of us would go a long way to creating a more positive online environment.
5. Savour the good times.
If you find yourself enjoying a particular moment, stop for a second and savour that feeling. Notice how your body feels. Pay attention to the thoughts you’re having. Later, when you need a lift, you can recall the moment, experience the enjoyment again and be grateful.
6. Take your eyes off yourself.
Put your focus on others rather than your own inner narrative. Find the good in people and appreciate it. Empathy for others deepens our sense of gratitude.
7. Change your perspective.
If you’re having a difficult time coming up with something to feel grateful for, put yourself in the shoes of someone else who doesn’t have what you have.