The season of thanksgiving reminds us of all the things we have to be thankful for, why not practice gratitude all year long? It’s proven that this practice can strengthen the immune system, improve mood, and regulate sleep.
With all of these benefits, you’ll be so grateful to add gratitude to your self-care routine. So here’s three tips to help you learn to be grateful.
Understand that you can choose to be grateful.
We were all made with a will that is stronger than our emotions—that means we have the power to change our emotions, feelings, perceptions, and point of view. If that sounds silly to you, think about this…
What do you do when you’re having an unpleasant conversation at home and the phone suddenly rings? You answer with a calm and collected “Hello!”. That’s because we can choose how we act despite how we feel.
The best part? Eventually, our feelings start to follow our actions. If you’re sad and decide to binge Netflix while eating massive quantities of ice cream, you’ll feel worse—but if you’re sad and decide to turn on happy music and dance around, you’ll start to feel better.
It may not happen immediately, but with practice, you can train your feelings to follow your actions.
Look for reasons to love your problems.
If you live in America, have a job, and are reading this blog post, it’s likely the majority of your problems are most likely not as serious as you think they are.
In fact, many of the problems we face are just signs of the blessings we’ve experienced! Think about it…
If your muscles ache at the end of a long day at work, that means you’re able to move, lift, and carry things—abilities that hundreds of thousands of people would love to have. It also means you’re employed.
If something is wrong with your house and needs to be fixed, that means you have a roof over your head.
If you’re feeling unfulfilled at work or in life, that means you’re aware that you have a much larger purpose, and a tremendous opportunity to fulfill it.
So next time you get bent out of shape about something (because we all do), take a deep breath and be thankful for what you do have and what is going right.
Stop, take a breath, and write your blessings down if you need to! When you look, you will find them.
Don’t keep it to yourself—share gratitude with others.
Changing your feelings by practicing gratitude becomes even easier if you start using gratitude to help others change the way they feel, too.
Everyone longs for appreciation, and tons of people do great work that goes unnoticed. You can be the person who notices them and gives them the appreciation they deserve.
Opportunities for expressing gratitude are all around you, hidden in life’s everyday moments:
Let the cashier at the grocery store know you appreciate his speedy service.
Text your mom and let her know you’re grateful for the way she raised you.
Leave a note of appreciation for the crew that cleans your office. Point out something specific you’ve noticed they do extremely well, even if it seems small.
Give a coworker a sweet treat at the end of a long week and tell them you appreciate them.
Gratitude is contagious. When you give it to others, your feelings can’t help but get caught up in the action.