In life, it’s easy to sweat the small stuff. The worries, stresses, and fears can overcome us suddenly, and they often can bring us down. What often remains are feelings of hopelessness, despair, and loss. When these negative emotions take hold of us, we tend to forget the good that still exists in our lives, and our outlook and wellbeing suffer because of it.
But we can overcome the negativity in our lives. We can overcome it by practicing gratitude.
Practicing gratitude has far reaching effects for improving our mental health and boosting our relationships with others. It also helps us not overlook the small stuff. Noticing these small moments can create a web of well-being that only strengthens the ability to notice the good in life.
What are the benefits of practicing gratitude?
Practicing gratitude has many benefits that affect our day to day life and state of mind.
Improves Mental Health
When we focus our attention on appreciating the good in our lives, we can embetter our mental health. Practicing gratitude helps us nurture a more positive headspace and attitude. Instead of getting dragged down when we fixate on the negative in our lives, our focus on the good can improve our emotional wellbeing.
Helps Accept Change
Most of us get comfortable with the way things are, so it can be difficult to accept, let alone feel grateful when we’ve undergone a change in our lives. When we make a habit of noting the good in what change brings instead of longing for what was, we become more flexible and accepting of change.
Helps Manage Stress
Our negative feelings of hopelessness and despair can play a major role in creating and increasing stress in our lives. When we practice gratitude, our positive and negative emotions are more balanced, and we are more capable of putting things in perspective. By expressing gratitude regularly, we can give our thinking a more positive target while managing our negative emotions and stress.
How to Make Gratitude a Daily Practice
There are many ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis. It’s all about finding the right strategies that work for you and your lifestyle. Here are some strategies you can try.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
One way to practice gratitude daily is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day you can remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoyed that day. Recalling moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable practice of gratefulness in your life.
Come to Your Senses
Our attention spans can wander away from us at any given time. One way to bring our attention back to the present is to focus on the senses. When you use your senses as a lens to view what you’re grateful for, it opens up the world and the way we engage with it. When we look through the lens of the senses, we gain a greater appreciation of what it means to be human and alive.
Share Your Gratitude With Others
Gratitude not only can be applied to noticing and expressing our appreciation for ourselves and our experience, but it can also be applied to our relationships. Expressing gratitude to our loved ones can help strengthen our relationships and practice of gratitude. Expressing our appreciation for others also reminds us to appreciate and value our relationships more, and reminds us that we aren’t alone.
Remember the Bad to Appreciate the Good
While appreciating the good in the present is an important and effective practice of gratitude, so is the remembrance of hard times that were experienced in the past. Remembering the difficulties we’ve experienced throughout our lives reminds us how far we’ve come and the difficulties we’ve faced and overcame. If we spend time remembering the difficulties we’ve faced, we can appreciate and find gratitude for our present and current state of life.
Think Outside the Box
There is no prescriptive and exhaustive list out there that explains the only ways to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude is a practice, a practice that’s all about treating each instance as an opportunity to find good and appreciation in our lives. Think outside the box when new situations and circumstances happen to find gratitude.
The more mindful we are about the good in our lives, the easier it is to see and appreciate the good over the bad. Finding ways to appreciate ourselves, others, and the world around us will help us lead a more fulfilling life.
While it’s important not to sweat the small stuff, appreciating the small stuff can make a difference in our attitudes. Over time, the small good stuff can feel just as big and significant.
Written by Eleni Zaptses