Developing Gratitude

Gratitude is more than being thankful.

Feeling grateful starts with recognizing that life is good and rewarding. This positive thinking is motivating. People who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, have stronger relationships, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and have stronger immune systems. Gratitude helps us see situations in ways that can reduce panic and opens up our thinking to new solutions.

People aren’t hardwired to be grateful.

Being grateful requires practice. But the benefits of practicing gratitude are life altering. Gratitude gives us perspective. We can see the good and the bad, making it less likely that we will complain. When we are grateful, we realize what we have and the tendency to want more is lessened. It may be difficult at first, but the more you stick with it, the easier it will become.

9 Ways to Develop Gratitude

Notice your everyday world and be amazed at all the goodness we take for granted.

Keep a ‘Gratitude Journal’ noting one or more things daily that you are grateful for. Make a game out of noticing new things each day to keep it from becoming repetitive.

Switch your mindset from negative to positive. Instead of noticing the negative traits (the cold conference room) focus on the positive traits (the conference room with the great view).

Gratitude requires humility, defined as being modest and respectful. Figure out how humility fits into your life.

Give compliments daily. They can be shared verbally or written in a note to a person. Or they can be an appreciation of something (I love how peaceful it is at night in our backyard).

Reflect on bad situations, without emotion, and ask, what could I learn? What could I be grateful for?

DO NOT complain, criticize, or gossip. And when you slip, catch yourself and keep going. Notice how much energy was spent on negative thoughts.

Sound genuinely happy to hear from people who call you on the phone, and mean it! They’ll feel valued.

Donate time, money, or talent to a cause that is important to you. By getting involved, you’ll better appreciate the organization and the organization will appreciate you too!

Sometime today take 5 minutes to start being grateful. Make it a daily practice. You could start your day with it, end your day with it, or be grateful over your lunch hour. Find the time that will work best for you and just do it.