Research shows that gratitude increases happiness and resilience; boosts optimism, self-esteem and energy levels; and improves sleep, health and productivity. If that wasn’t enough, it can also enhance your career.
When you practice gratitude, you’re less likely to feel stressed, envious and negative. You’ll find that relationships are easier to build and sustain, as you become more appreciative of others, and gratitude has been shown to increase long-term wellbeing by more than 10%, which is the same impact as if your income had doubled.
So, how does it work?
Gratitude changes how we perceive situations by adjusting our focus. When you write down or think about what you’re grateful for, you force your mind to focus on the good things you already have, rather than dwelling on what you don’t have or searching for something new. We can be so focused on what we think is going wrong that we forget about or take for granted what we have and what the world has to offer.
Plus, when you’re in a grateful mood, you’re better at appreciating and noticing other areas of your life that evoke gratitude – it’s a practice that grows and offers a route to happiness.
How do you practice gratitude?
You don’t need to chant or sit in silence for an hour, simply keep a five-minute daily journal, noting down three things each day, start a gratitude jar or record things as they happen – this will encourage you to become more mindful of everyday occurrences that incite gratitude.
It’s not just saying thank you, but being thankful that encourages appreciation and kindness. Really reflect on your life, acknowledge what you have and immerse yourself in any good events that have happened.
Focus On The Specifics
Try to be detailed such as “I’m grateful to my partner for cooking me dinner” or “I’m grateful to my sister as she asked me about my work”. Aim to think of three things each day.
Keep It Simple
The events don’t have to be big or of huge significance. You can be grateful for a delicious piece of cake or someone holding the door open for you.
Notice New Things
Pay attention to the new things you’re grateful for each day. It’s good to look close to home but don’t stop there, extend your gratitude to the wider world so you expand your focus.
Relationships with others are one of our greatest sources of happiness, so incorporate them into your practice. Research shows that focusing our gratitude on people, rather than material items or circumstance, gives the greatest benefits.
Share With Others
Rather than just writing it down, share your thoughts with those you’re thinking about. When you’re grateful and show your appreciation to others, you give them a boost, too.
Make It A Habit
It takes practice to make gratitude a habit. To make it part of your routine, set a time each day to do it or tag it to a daily practice such as brushing your teeth or commuting. For some extra accountability, do it with someone else – it’s lovely to hear someone else’s gratitude list.
This blog was originally written for Sheerluxe