This post on gratitude is part of the 31 Days To A Happier You series.
Yesterday we talked about helping others and how it can make you happier. Today we are going to look at how we can boost our happiness through gratitude.
We All Have Something To Be Grateful For
I’ll be honest. I’ve always struggled with gratitude. Growing up I didn’t have much or at least I didn’t think I did. I went to college where most of the student were wealthy. I graduated into a recession and didn’t land my dream job…. Because my life wasn’t what I wanted or expected, I didn’t think I had anything to be grateful for. Boy was I wrong about that. There were so many things I was taking for granted. All of this is to say that even when you think you have nothing, there is still something in your life that you can be grateful for.Even when you think you have nothing, there is still something in your life that you can be grateful for.Click To Tweet
Okay so we have established that everyone has something to be grateful for. Maybe you haven’t figured out what exactly those things are… but that’s okay. Let’s just let that marinate for a little bit. Now we are going to dive into why practicing gratitude is good for you.
The Benefits of Gratitude
According to this article in Psychology Today, practicing gratitude can be beneficial to your health and happiness. Because gratitude helps us feel positive emotions like love, joy, and contentment, it can help offset negative emotions like anxiety or fear. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some more benefits:
- Being grateful promotes the savoring of current positive experiences through reflection on past positive experiences.
- It increases your self-worth and self-esteem.
- Helps you cope with stress and trauma.
- It discourages comparison and envy.
- It hinders negative feelings like anger, bitterness, and greed.
How To Start Practicing Gratitude
There are a lot of advocates for daily practice, like Rachel Hollis, but I am not sure it’s necessary as long as you are practicing regularly. These are my 3 favorite activities that are backed by research that you can try. Need more ideas? Check out this list.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Spend 10-15 minutes writing about 3-5 things you are grateful for. You don’t need to do it everyday, but try to do it at least once a week. Also you need to actually write it down, don’t try to do the activity in your head.
- Meditate. Spend ten minutes going through a guided gratitude meditation. Meditation is best done on a daily basis, but you can see benefits from just one session. If you don’t meditate on a regular basis read this post on making meditation a happiness habit.
- Savoring Walks. Take a 15-20 minute walk everyday for a week while observing the positive aspects of your surroundings.
For today, decide whether you want to start a gratitude practice. I highly recommend that everyone at least tries it, but I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you decide to give it a try, make sure you are intentional in your practice and schedule it into your day. Don’t just say you’ll get around to it eventually.