Establishing a gratitude practice can be an important habit to help you experience more happiness. The term mindset has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies show how gratitude can be an effective way of suggesting a positive mindset. Focusing often on what you appreciate lightens your attitude. Additionally, it’s statistically proven that gratitude encourages healing and provides and a faster rate of recovery from surgery! Therefore a positive attitude contributes to greater success in work, better health, higher performance in sports and business, and increases your sense of well-being.
Developing a habit
While it’s easy to acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, establishing an ongoing practice can be challenging. Uttering an occasional ‘Thank God’ for synchronicity and positive outcomes is one thing, but creating habits is quite a challenge.
Many of us start out with great intentions, but over time, a habit loses its appeal and loses our attention. you can start any habit, but the pay off is when you keep doing something positive. A practice then can still be difficult to sustain. Therefore establishing a sustainable gratitude practice takes intention, demands your attention, and requires ongoing reminders.
To further complicate things, many of us are trained to pay attention to negative things. We have a tendency to notice what’s broken, undone, or lacking in our lives. This habit is difficult to break. But, in order for gratitude to have real healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word.
Change begins with thoughts first. Then, when you have a new perspective, it’s easier to develop a new habit. And to make a habit stick can take some time.
Turning a habit into a practice
That’s why learning to practice gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.
Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.
There are many things to be grateful for: colorful leaves, fresh air, a strong body, meaningful work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. I’m thankful that my list is endless.
8 easy ways to focus on gratitude daily
If you’re just learning about the power of establishing a gratitude practice, here are some ways to get started and create a routine you can live with.
- Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
- Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
- Create gratitude cards by writing gratitude statements and blessings on 3×5 cards. Post them on your walls, or read them often.
- Make a gratitude slideshow and include images of the things you love.
- Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
- Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
- When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
- Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, and express thanks for your blessings.
As you practice gratitude in your life, you’ll likely notice an inner shift. As it begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.
So, what’s on your list? What are you grateful for? And, how do you express gratitude in your life? We’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments.
This post content has been edited but was originally contributed & used under license, © 2011 Claire Communications