Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Having an attitude of gratitude is an art and a skill that human beings need to learn, not only for survival, but most importantly for living a joyful and abundant life.

Moving towards the last couple of months of the year is the time when most of us reflect on the things that we are grateful for, especially with the approaching Thanksgiving and holiday seasons. It is easier to feel grateful with the holiday vibes, when we are surrounded by the people whom we love and we are reminded of the things that we should be grateful for.

When you see how life seems to fall apart, being grateful might be the last thing on your mind.

However, when these seasons are over and gone, we are back to our daily grind. We then tend to shift our entire focus on our day-to-day challenges to thrive and survive, making the feeling of gratitude scarce once again. 

When you focus on the things that you need to accomplish and those challenges that you need to surpass, it can be difficult to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. When you see how life seems to fall apart, being grateful might be the last thing on your mind. 

However, developing a habit of regularly expressing appreciation and gratitude for all aspects of your life can make a big difference in your mindset. People who try to find something to be grateful for each day end up being happier compared to those who don’t see anything as something they should appreciate. As a matter of fact, cultivating an attitude of gratitude promotes happiness and can help decrease anxiety and depression.

The practice of being grateful even in the midst of adversity will help lessen a person’s stress levels while facing such trials. This is not only good for one’s mental health — in fact, having an attitude of gratitude also promotes one’s physical health.

People who try to find something to be grateful for each day end up being happier compared to those who don’t see anything as something they should appreciate.

But having an attitude of gratitude should become a habit and a lifestyle for it to stay effective. Here are a few tips to start cultivating everyday gratefulness:

  • Start a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a fancy journal — a simple notebook, or even the notes app on your smartphone, will do. Write three to five things that you are grateful for each day. You may write in the morning as soon as you wake up, or at night before you go to sleep, or both. These things don’t have to be something significant and big. If there is nothing big happening in your life at the moment, this practice will help you learn to see the small and simple things with a grateful heart. 
  • Self-appreciation. Give yourself a recognition for what you have accomplished. Again, this doesn’t need to be anything big — a simple task that you have correctly done is something you should be proud of. Acknowledge yourself even for ordinary things, like showing up to your workout, passing an exam, finishing a homework, or sticking to your beauty regimen.
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  • Appreciate your loved ones. Oftentimes, we are neglecting those people who are with us — those who love and support us — without even realizing it. We are thinking that it is these people’s obligations to do the things that they do for us and thanking them is not necessary. Imagine your life without them when they’re gone and you will find that you should be grateful that they’re here. Show your appreciation towards them while you can.
  • Write gratitude letters. You can express your gratitude to someone by practicing writing gratitude letters. In this digital age, writing letters may no longer be in fashion — but the recipient of such letter will truly be happy if he/she receives one. If writing letters are not really feasible, you can opt to send an email or even a simple message instead. Tell a friend that you are grateful for having him/her in your life.Not only this will build a strong relationship between you, it will also make you feel closer and connected, even if you are apart.
  • Acknowledge others, even strangers. Sometimes, you may feel awkward to say something nice to those whom you do not know personally. But acknowledging others, even strangers, will go a long way. It may be as simple as thanking the waiter in a restaurant for serving your food, the security guard for opening the door for you, the cashier at a grocery store after your transaction. With a simple “thank you”, you will somehow brighten up someone’s day without you knowing.

“If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Lewis Howes

At first, practicing an attitude of gratitude can be difficult to get started. You can begin this practice by actively asking yourself everyday what you are grateful for.

It may not be directly related to you (like getting a promotion or a new gadget), but as you shift your focus from yourself to your surroundings, you will see that there are plenty of things that are genuine blessings in disguise — like a roof over your head, a bed to sleep on, a meal on your table, a job, a family, even having a clean air to breathe.

These blessings are countless!

All you need is a changed perspective and a grateful heart to be able to see them.

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