Do you cultivate and own an attitude of gratitude in your day to day life?
The simplest way to turn around a bad day or a negative attitude (and we all have and feel them) is by focusing on being grateful. You can be grateful for anything- your partner, your career, your kids, or even your ability to breathe freely. Maybe it is the sounds of the birds chirping in your back yard or the opportunity to walk along a path in the forest.
Simply stop what you’re currently doing (when you’re feeling down or angry) and breathe. Think about how blessed you are to be alive in the present day. You are able to sleep in an air-conditioned home with ample food in your refrigerator, wireless internet, and probably reading this with a cell phone or on your computer. Now think back 65 years when nobody on the earth had any of those things. That should truly put things into perspective for you.
Here are some ways to practice mindfulness:
- Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. The trick is that you need to picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day will rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session.
- It only takes eight weeks of gratitude practice for people to start showing changed brain patterns that lead to greater empathy and happiness.
- Your brain is a powerful tool, and training it towards gratitude is all part of ensuring that the gratitude comes more easily as you practice, so what are you waiting for?
- Keep a gratitude journal. After your mindfulness session, write down your positive thoughts! Keeping a journal of all of the things you are thankful for can help you keep track of and refer back to the positives in your life.
Write down your positive thoughts to further focus your attention on the subject. While you are putting the pen to paper, you have no choice but to consciously think about the words you are writing without other distracting, ungrateful thoughts.
You can journal every day after your gratitude practice, or you can come back to the journal on a regular schedule weekly or monthly.
Something you can do to increase your gratitude and peace is to wake up every morning and find a nice quiet spot either in nature or in your house and for 5 minutes write down 5 things you’re grateful for. We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
Try this exercise regularly for a couple of weeks and see how your perspective and life improves.
Here are 7 scientifically proven benefits:
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Perhaps you may want to send a thank-you note to that colleague who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
- Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and take make healthier options which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
- Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
- Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs—a major factor in reduced self-esteem—grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
- Gratitude increases mental strength. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.
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