What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is an act of being thankful or grateful for what an individual receives, no matter how little or big it is that was given, whether tangible or intangible. Gratitude is derived from the Latin word called gratia, which means appreciation, thankfulness, or thanks. In some ways, gratitude is known to have all these meanings. With gratitude, individuals are able to recognize and acknowledge the goodness they see in their lives. And so, they are able to understand that such goodness lies partly outside themselves. This enables people to connect to something much bigger than themselves as individuals — whether it is nature, people or to a higher power.
In psychology research, gratitude is known to be consistently and strongly linked to happiness. Gratitude enables people to relish good experience, have positive emotions, improve general health, build a strong relationship, and also enable them to deal with adversity. People are capable of expressing gratitude in different ways. They can think about the past by retrieving positive memories and being thankful for it, the present by taking every opportunity to be thankful for every good fortune as it comes their way, and the future by maintaining an optimistic and positive attitude. Gratitude is a quality individual can cultivate further regardless of the current level of gratitude the individual has attained.
It therefore no secret that gratitude has lots of positive benefits. From helping you become more optimistic, happier and healthier, it also helps improve your self-esteem. However, in order for you to experience these and many other benefits of gratitude, you, therefore, need to practice it every day. You need to continually practise it until it becomes a habit.
Expressing gratitude is not only about writing down things you are grateful for each day in a journal. Though, it an easy way to get started but it not the only way to practice gratitude daily. Below are ways to practice gratitude daily and on your own.
Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
Gratitude is a manner in which a person is appreciative of everything he/she has at present instead of always wanting something new with the hope of it giving you more happiness or thinking every material or physical need once met would guarantee happiness. Gratitude helps individuals to be refocused on what they have at present instead of what is lacking. Though, it may seem unrealistic at first, but once you practice and use regularly, it grows stronger.
Here are various ways to cultivate gratitude:
- Write a thank-you note: To stay happy always and grow your relationship with other people you can start by writing a thank-you letter to them, expressing your appreciation and enjoyment on how they have impacted your life positively. You can read out the letter to them and let them know how grateful you are for having them. Always make it a habit of sending a thank-you (gratitude) letter at least once every month, and also do the same to yourself.
- Thank someone mentally: it is a process of remembering those that have done something good for you and mentally appreciating the individual.
- Count your blessings: Make it your duty every week to set out a time for you to sit down, reflect and write about your blessings. Think about the things you are thankful for and things that are going as planned as well as those not going as planned. You can pick a number like three to five things you identify every week. As you note this point in your writing, think about the sensation, feeling you felt when something nice happened to you.
- Meditate: Meditation is a process of focusing on what is happening at the moment without judgement. Though people might focus on a word or even a phrase like “peace”, you can also focus on what you are happy and grateful for such as “a pleasant sound”, “sun” etc.
- Keep a gratitude journal: Cultivate the habit of writing down and or sharing your thought about the gift you received each day with a loved one.
Appreciate The Simple Things Life Has To Offer You
It could be overwhelming when you try to figure out what you are grateful for when you concentrate more on big things. So what about the simple thing’s life has to offer you? The bed you woke up in, that cup of coffee in the morning, that colorful butterfly you saw as it pass through a garden. What about your ability to talk, walk and even eat? Not everyone has that capability, but you do. Most times we tend to overlook this little things that life has given us and sometimes take it for granted.
Don’t Make Comparison
It is quite easy to compare once self with others and want what they have gotten. Doing this, shows you are not accepting your unique journey. We were all created for different things, and so, we are on a different life path. Embrace the path you find yourself on. Accept your uniqueness and beauty. Therefore, be always appreciative and thankful for what you have and who you are no matter what situation you find yourself.
Keep A Gratitude Journal
Get a book where you write out things you are grateful for each day. It shouldn’t be lengthy, you can make mention and write out things you are grateful and thankful for every morning and evening. It will enlighten you and make you see beauty and joy on your days. Most people complain almost about everything or place so much attention on things they don’t have, but when you focus on the little things you have achieved, no matter how small they are, you are capable of attracting bigger and better things to yourself.
Related Article: Top 3 Benefits of Mindfulness Journal
Give A Smile
Lots of people find it is hard to smile nowadays, you therefore should be the one to initiate it. Not only does smiling makes you relax and feel good, smiling at someone would make your day and theirs too. Always cultivate the habit of smiling every time and you would see how your day can be transformed instantly. While at it, try giving a compliment too. Be cordial, look for something within the person that you find nice and bring it to their knowledge.
Live In The Now
Most times we tend to dwell on the past or even worry about what the future holds. But if you can take out time and try to live at the moment, and accept everything as they happen, you would come to discover joy that has been overlooked. The joy of talking to a friend, watching your child play, the sweet smell of coffee at the local shop and the smell of rain are wonderful moments and source of joy when you embrace it.
Celebrate Your Success
Take out time to write out all you have achieved in the past years, you may come to realize that the list is so many, savour these successes and be thankful rather than think about what you did not accomplish.
Ask Others To Tell you Something Good
Expressing appreciation after dinner for the food that you eat and the experience of enjoying a meal with your loved ones is an act of gratitude. You can as well go around the table and have each one say at least one thing they are thankful for. The founder of Life is Good, Bert and John Jacob, started practicing this when they were kids. No matter what was currently happening in the family, no matter what hardship they were facing as a family, their mother Joan was know to always make a special request every night at the dinner table, which was “Tell me something good today”. This is a great way of practicing gratitude daily.
Doing yoga is great. Apart from making you more flexible, yoga tends to make you more appreciative of yourself through various physical movement and exploration of your body. You will learn to love your health, beauty and intelligence. Yoga is aimed at unifying the body, mind and soul. This would make you more thankful and grateful every day for being able to participate in such a practice.
Related Article: 12-Weeks Yoga Burn Challenge Program
You Are An Enough
So many people are fond of talking about themselves in a resentful manner. If found in such situations, you need to challenge your inner critic with the thought of gratefulness, which will immediately turn those negative thoughts into positive ones. The other way you can achieve this is by putting down good things about yourself in your gratitude journal each morning when writing your gratitude. Write about that quality about yourself that you love, and other good things about yourself. Do it every single day.
Final thought on how to Practice Gratitude daily
Above are some ways to practice gratitude every day. You mustn’t carry out all this steps. You can pick a few of the steps and start and create a habit of gratitude. In no time will you see the positive effect of practicing gratitude in your life.