Taking the time to appreciate the good things in your life can make a big difference in your overall happiness. However, with so many different challenges to deal with daily, it can be hard to remember to appreciate the things you feel thankful for. Intentionally practicing gratitude throughout the day is a great way to improve your perception along with your mental health. Here are five easy ways to practice gratitude every day.
Write in your journal.
Taking a few minutes to write down what you are feeling grateful for either in the morning or evening (or both!) is a great way to really focus on your gratitude and let it sink in. You can do this in the morning when you feel fresh or at night after the day has ended. There are many different journaling methods – you can write out a bulleted list, write a detailed paragraph, or even add some doodles, depending on what works best for you. You can also opt to track these things on your phone if it’s easier for you.
Fun Fact: Studies suggest that practicing journaling reduces depression and anxiety.
Look for the good in challenges.
When you find yourself feeling frustrated with a challenge you experience during the day, try to think about it from a different perspective. Try to find something good about the negative experiences you are facing. Even if it’s something small, it will help you reframe your mindset and approach the problem more positively.
Helpful tip: Try reframing the situation into something that provides a learning opportunity. For instance, “I tried something new and learned X from taking this risk that I wouldn’t have learned if I didn’t take on this challenge.”
Spend time with people you love and appreciate.
Go out of your way to spend time with loved ones. It’s easy to let busy schedules get in the way of catching up with people you care about, so you may need to be more proactive about making plans than you are used to. When you’re with someone you care about, don’t hesitate to share your affection or compliment them. Giving out love freely can help you think about life in a more positive way. You should also be on the lookout for new people to spend time with – you never know what someone new might bring to your life.
Fun Fact: Many doctors are emphasizing our need for social engagement for overall health.
Say thank you out loud.
As you go through your day, be very conscious of saying thank you to people who do nice things for you. This is not only your friends, family, and co-workers, but also strangers who hold the door for you, friendly store clerks, and other people you encounter. Saying thank you out loud helps you be more appreciative of other people, and it can help you cultivate better relationships too.
Ask others what they’re thankful for.
There are going to be days when you are in a bad mood, and it’s hard to think of something that makes you feel grateful. On those days, it’s more than okay to reach out to others for help. Ask them what they’re thankful for and really listen. There are multiple benefits to this – first, it will help you develop a stronger understanding of that person’s values and what makes them happy. Second, it might help jog your memory of things you are thankful for too.