It may sound overly simplistic, but gratitude—in many ways—is a key component of well-being. In fact, gratefulness.org shares a multitude of research showing how gratitude can increase happiness, hopefulness, energy, empathy, spirituality and more! So, how can you reap these benefits by adopting an attitude of gratitude? Check out the helpful tips we’ve curated for you below:
- Take the personal scientist approach: Try this experiment from “Attitudes of Gratitude,” by M.J.Ryan. Choose one morning where you set an alarm every hour and think of all the things that went wrong during that time period. Then, continue to set the alarm every hour for the afternoon, but instead, focus on things that went right. Did you feel more hopeful and alive during the morning or afternoon?
- Choose gratitude despite difficult circumstances: A Buddhist quote says, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” If you’re waiting for life to be perfect in order to express thanks, you’ll never get there. Even if you’re lying in a hospital bed, you have the power to choose to look for the good in each and every situation.
- Exercise your gratitude muscles: Just like any healthy habit we aim to sustain, practice makes permanent. Incorporate small gratitude exercises into your daily life. At first, it may seem challenging or awkward. Stick with it, and it will soon become natural.
- Learn the difference between wants and needs: Do you want or need to book that cruise to Alaska? Do you want or need to have a job that provides you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment? Differentiating the two terms can help simplify life.
- Become a gratitude groupie: Choose a friend or group of friends who would also like to regularly practice gratitude. Commit to a daily text, expressing your thankfulness for each day’s blessing.
There are so many opportunities and exercises you can use each day to build your gratitude muscles. You always have the freedom to choose your perspective: focus on the good or dwell on the bad. Which will you choose?