Gratitude is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “the state of being grateful.” Feeling gratitude can be challenging no matter the time of year, but especially in November when we celebrate a holiday with the word “thanks” in it, and we begin to be inundated with reminders about how important this emotion can be.
Gratitude and gratefulness go hand in hand. If you have one, you will have the other. Gratitude describes a feeling that can lift your spirits immediately. It can arise from the simplest sources-a smile from a stranger, the bright sunshine outside, or the relief that you made it through a difficult day at work. When you are in the state of being grateful, you can take a real cleansing breath and relax into an enhanced state of wellbeing.
If you are feeling like you need help in cultivating gratitude, here are some tips to help you in finding ways to feel more grateful:
- Look for reasons to be grateful! Decide that you will be on the lookout for reasons to be grateful. Making the decision to this as a daily practice can jumpstart gratitude!
- Remember that this is a practice, and practice makes perfect! If you haven’t practiced feeling grateful it can be challenging when you first start, but keep the momentum, even when you struggle to find anything to appreciate about your life. Start with the little things like your warm home or your favorite song on the radio.
- Keep track! A gratitude journal can be a powerful tool in helping you recognize what you are grateful for. Every evening, take a few minutes and jot down five things that went right that day or brought you a moment of joy. This will become easier as you make a habit of documenting your gratitude. In fact, you may find that you have more and more to write about as you keep this journal.
- Show gratitude to others: sometimes, we need to give what we need to receive. By demonstrating our gratitude to others, we are acknowledging the need for others to experience this emotion, and are setting up a foundation to be more grateful for the gifts others bring to our lives. By demonstrating your gratitude, you are giving the people in your life a reason to feel grateful.
- Practice self-care: feed your body as a precious gift, thus expressing to yourself that you are grateful for all that your being is allowing you to do. Eating nutritious foods is a way of honoring yourself, and expressing gratitude to you! If your body is tired, honor it with rest!
According to David Steindl-Rast, “Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.”
Gratitude is based in a state of mind that promotes abundance. Believing that there is always something to be grateful for can expand your mindset and your attitude from scarcity to a bounty of possibility every day.