Showing gratitude for simple things

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” -Robert Brault.

Make Gratitude a Daily Affair

Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness is a daily affair. To begin, cultivate your gratitude for the small things. Things that happen everyday that you can learn to truly appreciate, like your 5 senses, your health, waking up another day, having a well-paying and/or satisfying job, your ambition, the sun, your family and friends, the smell of fresh rain, your shiny new iPhone, your favorite pair of shoes/jeans/cufflinks, your comfy bed, your partner, children, laughter, etc.

Cultivating gratitude on a daily basis will not only improve your overall demeanor and increase your happiness, but also your health. “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations,” says Dr. Robert Emmons, A psychology researcher at the University of California and author of the science of gratitude book, “Thanks!”. Appreciative people also sleep better. “If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep,” Dr. Emmons advises in his book. Gratitude is also a stress buster, immune booster, and natural sleeping aid.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

• Keep a Gratitude Journal:

Whether you make it a daily or weekly journal in which you write down what you feel thankful for it will be a visual reminder as well as give you a daily/weekly chance to reflect.

• Make a Visible List:

Write down not only the things you are appreciative for but also the additional benefits that come from it. For example, “I’m grateful for my daily jog because it
gives me time to reflect on my day while cultivating gratitude AND keeps me healthy and fit”.

• Re-frame Problems and Issues:

When you inevitably encounter problems or issues in your life, re-frame them with an affirmative attitude and grateful lens. For example, if your child comes home
with a disappointing report card then look at it as an opportunity to spend more time with your child going over their work.

• Make Positive Comparisons:

People often kill gratitude with negative comparisons to other peoples’ lives, possessions and luck. Instead make positive comparisons. For example, instead of looking at the neighbor’s brand new sports car and feeling behind the Joneses—think about how happy you are in your lovely home and how much money you have invested in your retirement savings plan this year.

• Use (Gentle) Reminders

IMG_0450When initially cultivating your gratitude, you will require reminders. Set little reminders like post-its on your mirror, alarms in your phone, or have your family/ friends give you regular reminders on what it is you want to be thankful for. A large part of cultivating gratitude into everyday life is integrating it into your schedule until it is like second nature.

Being grateful for everyday things isn’t difficult but it requires a concerted effort. After selecting some everyday things to feel thankful for you need to integrate patterns of gratitude into your routine until they become a natural, daily affair.

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