Happiness is gratitude. One study shows that gratitude is “strongly connected to your happiness.” Gratitude, coming from the latin root, gratia (meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness), is the appreciation you feel for tangible & intangible things that you have in your life. Out of the expression of gratitude, people are able to see goodness & beauty in their lives. By nature, gratitude is the ability to look outside of yourself, to something beyond you, and therefore gives you the ability to connect with people+feelings+the world in new ways.
Gratitude benefits your mental, emotional, physical health; it helps you feel good emotions, appreciate experiences, face challenging situations, and pursue healthy relationships. Needless to say, gratitude & thankfulness are essential emotions to have in your life. So how can you cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Start incorporating habits in your life that help you recognize when you’re not being grateful and allow you to appreciate the things in your life... Big & small.
1. Be emotionally aware
A feelings wheel like this one can help you sort, track, and understand your emotions. The more aware of your emotions you are, the better you can see when & why you may start to feel negative emotions. You can keep track of your gratitude and focus on the things that help you feel that.
One thing that many grateful people do every day is to keep a gratitude journal. At the beginning of every day, write down the answer to these three questions:
-I am grateful for…
-What would make today great?
-How could I make today even better?
3. Be mindful about your social media use
Social media is a great way to stay in contact with friends & family who are far away, but mindless scrolling can often make you feel envious, bitter, and jealous of other people’s lives. One way to prevent yourself from mindless scrolling is to set a limit on your phone. Have a roommate or someone you’re around a lot set the passcode so that you can’t override it.
Exercise is known to produce endorphins, which clears your mind and helps your physical health. While you’re exercising, try thinking about different parts of your body: the muscles in your legs, the beating of your heart, and strength in your lungs, and allow yourself to be filled with thankfulness for the body you have.
5. Be kind to yourself + others
The way you speak & act towards yourself and others can give you an overall sense of gratitude in the little things. Hold the doors open, think kind thoughts when you look in the mirror, and pay for the person in line behind you.
6. Memorize quotes on gratitude
When things are going wrong, or your mind is starting to spiral downward, memorizing a quote will help you shift your thoughts, change negative thinking, and focus on the positive. We love this quote: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
7. Watch your language
What you feel in your heart is usually what comes out of your mouth. Your words can ensure you are dwelling on either negatives or positives. If you hear yourself cursing at other drivers or gossiping with your friends at work, you may not be cultivating an environment of gratitude.
8. Each day, say out loud 3 good things that happened
Around the dinner table, to your friends, or to a random person at the grocery store, make a practice of sharing with someone else three good things that happened to you each day. It will get easier, don’t worry!
9. Watch inspiring videos + read inspiring books
Videos like this grandma who can powerlift at 77 years old and is so thankful for what she has. Hearing + watching + reading inspiring stories reminds you of how beautiful life is.
Need some more gratitude in your life? Like and share this if you’re feeling extra grateful today. <3