Practising gratitude can be a life-changer: it helps improve our overall health and improves our relationships with others. Living a life where you practice gratitude means appreciating the little things in life — like a stranger being kind towards us or holding the door open for us. Here are 11 simple ways to practice gratitude to a part of your everyday life.
1. Start thanking
A simple “thank you” note to your colleague or a message to your relative can go a long way.
2. Gratitude Journal
Invest in a journal you really like because you’ll be using a journal for at least a year. I recommend sitting down with your journal a few minutes before bedtime to jot down everything food that happened to you that day.
This not only helps you sleep more peacefully but also helps you appreciate the good thing in life you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.
3. Pause before your meals
Taking a quiet moment before eating to thank everyone involved in preparing your meal (from the farmer to your cook) is a great way to practise mindfulness.
You also end up appreciating your food more than you would normally have. You benefit from the food more when you eat it properly rather than in a rush.
4. Take a walk
Gratitude is all about being thankful for the small things life has to offer to us. Like the air, sunshine and the sky. Absorb your surroundings and let your mind and body relax as you walk.
5. Do a body scan
Lie down on a comfortable surface and close your eyes. Calm your mind and focus its spotlight towards each of your body parts and express your gratitude. For instance, thank your tongue by saying, “thank you, tongue, for letting me enjoy different flavours each day.”
6. Sign up for charity work
It’s not until you volunteer for a cause you realise the value of your life. When I volunteered for a kids NGO that raised funds so that children could attend school, I realised how lucky I was to have finished my schooling from one of the most prestigious schools in India.
If volunteering isn’t your cup of tea, donate money, clothes, school supplies to help such children. In fact, it can be supporting any cause that you feel passionate about such as eradicating poverty.
If you’ve just started a job or are on a budget, the best way to contribute to society is to give them your time. You can help people learn new skills or raise funds by participating in events.
Reflecting on your blessings is another way to practise gratitude and you can do that by meditating. Another way to do is by praying every day. Be grateful for the life you have and the qualities that make you a good human being.
8. Practice kindness
The easiest way to give back to society is by being kind to others. This also includes being kind to animals. Volunteering at a dog shelter, for example, is an excellent way to practise kindness.
You can also take time to write reviews for small businesses or your favourite staff to help them benefit in the longer run.
9. Remember your bad times
To be grateful for everything that you currently have, think about the times you had nothing. When you remember how difficult your life was and how far you’ve come, you are able to see everything and everyone you need to be thankful for.
10. Find gratitude in challenges
Challenges can be frustrating but they can also be extremely rewarding. Even though they appear terrifying, they help us learn new things.
Rather than being frustrated, look at the bright side when things get tough. Ask yourself, “How will this problem help me in the future? What will I learn from it?”
Turns out, every challenge teaches us something that we needed to learn. It could be anything from standing up for yourself to practising compassion.
11. Don’t stop once you start seeing the results
Most people quit practising gratitude once they start seeing the results. Remember that practising gratitude is an ongoing process and not an end goal. If and when you stop, you stop appreciating the smaller things altogether which makes you sad and even depressed in the longer run.
The key is to be grateful every day in order to appreciate who we are and what we have.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion and can make your life better in a lot of ways. It keeps depression at bay and helps you lead a happy life.