Taking the time to think about and share the things you are glad you have has powerful benefits. People who regularly express gratitude are reported as feeling more positive emotions, get more restorative sleep, become kinder and more compassionate, and get sick less often (1). Even if gratitude does not come naturally to you, there are three simple things you can do to develop the habit of practicing gratitude daily. These 3 practices can help you develop those habits.
- Notice the Little Things One easy tip for boosting your gratitude is to get specific about the things you are grateful for. This often comes from noticing the little things in your life. Sure, you’re grateful for your family, but what about your family are you grateful for? Maybe your spouse always cleans the toilet because he or she knows you hate cleaning it, or maybe your mom always makes time to talk to you when you need her. And maybe you are grateful for good weather because the trees turn green, and your garden grows, and the pond across from your office sparkles, and you can spend more time outside– all of which are things that make you happy.Thinking of the specific little things that make you happy or glad to be living the life you have will make you realize just how much you have to be grateful for.
- Start a Gratitude Journal You’ve probably heard of this tip before, but it’s a powerful one. By taking time each day to write down a few of the things you are grateful for, or take pictures of the things that make you happy throughout the day, you solidify the small things you have noticed each day. Making these things concrete helps you to better remember them. If you are feeling down, you can read through this journal or look through your pictures, and remember the good things that you have in your life.
- Share your Gratitude with your Loved Ones Gratitude is contagious. If you share the things you are thankful for in your life with your loved ones and have them share what they are thankful for, it might make you think of more things to be grateful for, and it becomes a cycle. Sharing gratitude with children can also help to demonstrate resilience to them, and teach them good coping skills (2). Sharing the things in your life that you are grateful for with your loved ones can give you accountability as you make this your practice, and can also help to strengthen your relationships as you focus on the positives in life and those around you.
These three simple practices can help to develop habits of gratefulness, help you feel balanced, and find more peace and happiness in your life.