The habit of gratitude is one of the best habits we can develop to become happier and resilient, feel abundant no matter our present situation, and have a more positive outlook in life. Studies show that gratitude has a positive effect on a person’s well-being. Common sense tells the same; in fact, when we are grateful, we do feel better about our lives because we acknowledge the goodness in it.
What does gratitude mean to you?
From the Latin word gratia, gratitude means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude is the appreciation of all that we have. This includes the people, things, and experiences we encountered and even the failures and rejections we’ve faced.
When I was a kid, I often heard our pastor preach about gratitude, but in my mind, I thought how can one be grateful when he doesn’t have enough, when he’s sick or when the odds are against him?
I concluded that truly, this is one of the most difficult will of God.
Surely, God is wiser than my human thoughts and far above my limiting beliefs. He knows the benefits of practicing gratitude no matter what. He has our best interest in mind. How sweet, isn’t it?
But if you find yourself at the other end of the spectrum–that is a mindset of ingratitude and complaining, you have to really put in the work. Let the goal be: to develop the habit of gratitude so that it becomes part of our character. Do this daily in 8 weeks and see the improvements in your life.
So how do we practice gratitude every day so that it becomes a habit and later on be part of our character?
Here are 3 simple steps you can try:
Schedule time to meditate on gratitude.
Yes, we have to schedule it. That means we fully commit ourselves to make it a part of our life. The best time for me to do it is right after I wake up before I jump to do my daily tasks. This silent time only lasts 15 minutes and includes writing on my gratitude journal, giving thanks to God for all I’ve received and yet to receive, forgiving people who bothered me, and praying to God.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Keeping a journal improves a person’s well-being, and keeping a gratitude journal helps us focus on the positive things in life. The more we write about things we are grateful about, the more we become aware of them. As a result, we become more optimistic. There’s so much to be thankful about, just right there sitting around our subconscious. All we have to do is pick a pen and write them down on a journal so that we have a concrete and real experience of them.
According to a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, keeping a gratitude journal make one sleep better and longer. As a result, the body gets the rest it needs and the energy for the next day.
Be mindful of gratitude.
Train your brain to be grateful. That is to say that you will always be mindful of your thoughts.
In addition to putting the practice in your schedule, take some time to pause in your daily activities and be in the moment. If you are outside, feel the warmth of the sun. Be grateful for it. If you’re with your family, appreciate the moment that you spend with them.
Find something to be grateful about no matter the situation.
Moreover, be comfortable in expressing appreciation. For instance, whether your husband prepares your coffee every morning or he just did it today, make sure he knows you appreciate this gesture. According to studies, gratitude improves relationships. People who take time to show appreciation to their partner feel more positive and comfortable expressing their relationship concerns.
To sum up, developing the habit of gratitude is a worthy action with priceless benefits. Just like any new habit to develop, it takes conscious effort to practice it every day, but soon, when done consistently, the reward is great.