What is gratitude?
The virtue of gratitude has been seen as a beneficial practice for many centuries. It has been described as a key factor in the fabric of society, and as key to the relationships between family and friends.
But what is gratitude and where does it come from? In the recent past, research scientists have started to understand the biological factors in gratitude, the benefits that gratitude brings and the ways it can and is used in a daily practice.
In this post we’re going to highlight the 5 ways you can use gratitude to improve your daily life in a positive way… Let’s get started!
Become a “Noticer”
Reflection: A grateful heart is a heart that NOTICES good
things which are already present. In other words, when you’re
grateful, you’re constantly seeing all the good that you have in
You’re not constantly frustrated about what you don’t have.
You’re not constantly searching for the next thing you’re going to get.
Rather, you’re always on the lookout for good things that are coming into your life.
And when you notice these things, you give thanks for them.
🍽 A delicious meal…
🌅 A gorgeous sunset…
🚗 A car that you love…
💖 A peaceful walk with your loved ones…
👏 Friends who make you laugh and love…
If you want to be grateful, you must regularly be noticing all the good things, big and small that come into your life. When you do this, your heart will be filled with gratefulness.
Reflection: Gratefulness journaling takes the practice of
noticing a step further. It involves first noticing things you are
grateful for, then taking action and actually writing down those
things in a journal.
You might be wondering why it’s necessary to write down the things you notice. There are two reasons for this.
1) When we write things down, it gives us time to reflect. Writing, especially writing by hand, forces us to slow down and think. When you write about what you’re grateful for, it allows you to pause and consider WHY you’re so grateful for a particular thing.
2) Second, writing down the things you’re grateful for reinforces them in your mind. It’s like noticing them a second time and being grateful for them all over again. This practice of “double gratefulness” can literally double your joy.
When you write down what you’re grateful for, it freshly focuses your attention on those things and gives you a fresh appreciation for all that you have to be grateful for.
The Power of Saying, “Thank You”
Reflection: It’s two simple words that change everything.
That’s it. A phrase we take for granted. A sentence usually reserved for when someone holds the door for us.
A phrase we say far too little.
Can you imagine how it would change your life if you constantly said, “Thank you,” to people?
If you took every opportunity to thank people? If you…
🙏 Thanked a coworker for a prompt reply to an email.
🙏 Said a heartfelt, “Thank you,” when your boss let you go home 30 minutes early.
🙏 Thanked your spouse for cooking a delicious dinner.
🙏 Gave your kids a big hug and thanked them for cleaning up their toys.
🙏 Were full of gratefulness when a family member called to check in.
Being thankful to others profoundly changes the way we go through life. When you’re constantly thankful to others, it fills your heart with joy and helps you live in a constant state of gratitude.
Reflection: Gratitude affirmations go even beyond just saying,
“Thank you,” to a person or journaling. They are active,
positive, enthusiastic statements of gratitude to God or the
universe or whatever it is that you believe in.
Gratitude affirmations are NOT based on you feeling grateful. That’s a key
distinction. Rather, you are CHOOSING to be grateful for things, even if you don’t feel grateful.
There are two types of gratitude affirmations. The first is when you’re grateful for the things you already have. You AFFIRM that you have received an endless bounty of good things in your life and you give SPECIFIC thanks for all the blessings that you have received.
The second type of affirmations are future-oriented and are when you give
thanks for all the good things you are GOING to receive. Both types of affirmations are CRITICALLY important.
The first helps you constantly be grateful in the moment for every good thing that flows into your life. The second helps you live in a state of grateful ANTICIPATION for all the good things that are coming your way.
The Silver Lining
Reflection: It may seem like a trite, cliché phrase, but there
truly is ALWAYS a silver lining to every situation.
In other words, in every situation, there is something to be grateful for. Yes, even the hard, challenging situations. The ability to be grateful for things even in the midst of difficult situations is what sets apart the most grateful people from everyone else.
And the truth is, when you’re constantly looking for the good in every situation, it completely changes how you experience each situation. Suddenly, everything is not doom and gloom.
Rather, you’re able to see that, even in the midst of difficulty, there is real good. If you want to grow into a truly, overwhelmingly grateful person, this is the last skill you must master. You must learn the fine art of seeing good things in every situation you encounter.
If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. – Rabbi Harold Kushner
Applying Gratitude in Your Life
Now you’ve got the tools to live a truly grateful life. All that’s left is applying the tools! Gratitude is one of the truly transformational habits that you can cultivate in your daily life.
You will see changes in your mindset, relationships, health and success if you consistently cultivate a grateful mind and a thankful heart.
Good luck and Thank You!
Written by Paul McCoy