The art of practicing gratitude is just that, an art. It is not always easy to feel thankful, especially when things are not going your way. But oddly enough, an attitude of gratitude might be just what the doctor ordered. Not only does being grateful lead to a higher rate of contentment in your personal life, but it assures better sleep and even brings down levels of depression through the production of dopamine in the brain.
But rewiring brain neurons sometimes takes some effort, sort of like building up a new routine or habit; especially if you are already having a bad day. How can you get into the gratitude groove when you are not feeling it? Here are some tidbits!
Appreciate the Little Things
When life is particularly overwhelming, sometimes the only gratitude that we can genuinely feel is for the small things – and that is just fine. Taking the time to be thankful for that glass of water, or the bird you just had a moment with in your yard, might not seem like might but acknowledging them will do wonders for your mood. Spending your day looking for small things to appreciate has the interesting effect of making you notice the bigger things that you can be grateful for as well.
Stop Worrying About What Other People Have
If you feel like you cannot be grateful because someone else has it better, then your focus is in the wrong spot. Who cares if your neighbor has a better lawnmower than you do? You have one that works just fine, be grateful for what you have.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
If you are having trouble finding things to be thankful for, then make a habit out of keeping a journal of things you are grateful for every day. Why? Well, by writing things down, you will find that they are easier to remember (and learn!). Also, you are creating a record that you can reflect on to remind yourself that you do have many good things in your life. This will also aid in the visualization of your goal!
Whether giving your time or resources, nothing makes for gratitude like helping someone else and seeing their appreciation. You might even find new things to be thankful for as well – like your ability to help, or maybe you have a talent or skill that you are able to share. That makes this a win-win all the way!
Make Gratitude Habitual
Try to set a time to be grateful. Before bed, you can list great things that happened today. Or maybe you would like to start your day in gratitude with meditation. Whatever the case, getting into the mindset of daily gratitude will help you keep a lookout for things that you should be grateful for.
It is a lot easier to get into the groove of being grateful than you think. You start simply by being thankful for the things that you already have in your life. The fear will fade, and the rest will grow from that seed of positivity.
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