I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “gratitude” before, but you might not be 100% sure of what it actually means. The meaning of gratitude is quite simple really, it is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has.
Ok, so now you know what it means, you might be wondering how practising gratitude can help me? It’s simple, when you practise gratitude daily, you instantly feel happier and more positive about life. You take time to note and reflect upon the things you feel thankful for, making you more connected with the world and everyday life. It strengthens your relationships with your friends and family, as you become more appreciative of their kindness and presence. It opens your eyes into seeing how great the world really is! Studies have shown that five minutes of gratitude a day can increase your happiness by 10%, which is the same as doubling your salary!! So hopefully now you can see why it’s so good for you.
You may be thinking, but how do I become more grateful? How do I practise gratitude? Where do I start?! So I thought I’d share a few tips to help you practise gratitude:
- Make it personal – What I mean by this is instead of thinking of some obvious ones like “I’m grateful for food each day”, turn this around into what that really means to you. How are you grateful for the food? Is it because you can afford food? Because you’re able to eat it? Or because someone cooked it for you? Make practising gratitude personal to you, so instead you might think “I’m so grateful for my mum cooking this meal for me when I was too tired to do it myself”.
- Think of something new each day – Each day I practise being grateful for something different, so then this really stretches my mind to think of even the smallest things. It also means you’re always on alert and noticing things each day that you’re grateful for, things which perhaps you wouldn’t usually notice. An example of this is being grateful for the use of your legs – this may sound strange, but imagine your life without them for a moment, scary, isn’t it? Not being able to walk places, see new things, your loss of independence. Now come back to the present moment and think of all the things you can do with those legs – feels good, doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s only until we lose things do we then realise just how lucky we were to have it in the first place. Practising the thought of not having something will help you realise just how grateful you are for it.
- Don’t focus on what you don’t have, stay focused on what you do have – Too many people “wish” they had a bigger house, more money, better job, perfect body etc… And not enough of us stay focused on all the thing we do already have. Take a moment to make a mental list of the most valuable things in your life – maybe your family, friends, health, happiness. Now think – did having the latest iPhone come up near the top? Or the biggest house? Or a promotion? I hope the answer is no! That’s because the reason they don’t come near the top is you don’t need those things. By practising gratitude, it enables you to stay focused on all the amazing things you do have, so stop “wishing” for things and open your eyes to see all the amazing things you already have!
- Share your gratitude – If you are grateful for something someone has done or something in particular that happened, let them know and tell them how thankful you are! By sharing your gratitude, it will increase your energy, positivity and empathy. This not only makes you feel better; it makes the people around you feel better. Who doesn’t love being told that those flowers you bought around for your friend when they were feeling down made their day?
Incorporating gratitude into your life is simple and easy, and yet I don’t think enough of us do it. I hope by now you’ll realise just how many benefits there are from practising gratitude and you’ll start to open your eyes and appreciate life a bit more.
Metta, E xx