You've probably heard of a gratitude attitude. Maybe you’re wondering why you should add gratitude to your life or maybe you know you need to, but you don’t know how.
Why should everyone (not just the super successful) cultivate a gratitude attitude?
Research has shown many benefits for people who express gratitude frequently. These people experience increased energy, optimism, social connections, and overall happiness. They are less likely to be anxious, depressed, self-absorbed or experience sleep issues or substance abuse problems. Now, that’s not to say that being grateful will fix everything in your life. It’s just one piece. But it’s a piece that offers some awesome benefits for zero cost. Even if you’re in a bad place in your life, you can still express gratitude and reap those benefits. In addition, most successful people agree that gratitude is one of the most important components for attracting abundance.
Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, you’re getting all woo-woo on me again.” To a certain degree, I guess I am. But I’m a firm believer that if you want something, you can’t just keep it to yourself. You need to put it out into the world. It’s okay if you don’t believe in the law of attraction. It’s still a good thing to name your goals. It makes them more real.
How do you go about creating a gratitude attitude?
First, think about gratitude in terms of reflection. It’s hard to make progress and grow as a person if you don’t reflect on the journey. Not only will reflection aid in your personal growth, but it can also lead to stronger emotional intelligence, integrity, leadership, and self-confidence.
We all sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and can forget about the things that really matter.
Each person has their own unique list of things that bring simple pleasure, feelings of pure joy, or just a sense of comfort each day.
Get rid of negativity
- Avoid negative media. If you find yourself doom-scrolling, stop. Yeah, the world is a hot mess. I’m not saying you should bury your head in the sand, but you should limit your exposure to negative TV and social media. It doesn’t have a positive impact on your life. Watch and read things that bring you joy.
- Learn to turn your thoughts around. When life is rough, we often compound it through our own negative thoughts. When you discover you’re thinking negative thoughts, you need to stop and the quickest way to do that is to say it aloud. It might feel strange but that should be enough to make you actually stop. Then turn those thoughts into something positive. The easiest way is to immediately think of something you’re grateful for in the moment. Think about that thing instead, you’ll start to feel better.
One simple way to begin the process of reflection is through journaling. Many famous, successful people, like Tony Robbins or Oprah, talk about how they start their days by journaling and expressing gratitude for things in their lives.
A journal is a tangible visual aid that will trigger you to think about what you’re grateful for. Try just putting put the date on the page and jotting down what you’re grateful for at that time. You can write as much or as little as you wish. Place your journal in a spot where you’ll see it frequently, like on the dining room table, the kitchen counter, or near your favorite chair. This way, you’ll be prompted to experience your gratitude more often.
If that feels too much like a diary and you’re afraid you’ll veer off onto other topics, you can get a prompted journal, where there is a topic to write about each day.
For some people, writing in a journal can be an arduous task, especially if you don’t like writing. In that case, consider a line-a-day journal. All you have to write is one line per day, every day. Write down the one thing you are grateful for that day. The nice thing about a one good thing journal is that there is no expectation for expansion. You just name the thing. This is especially helpful during those times when life is beating you down and you’re having a hard time finding the silver lining.
No matter how bad a day you have had, you should be able to find the one thing that wasn’t horrible. You actually have plenty of things to be grateful for, regardless of the circumstances in which you may find yourself.
You can be grateful for physical blessings like your home or the weather. Who doesn’t like to curl up on the couch with their pet? Or stand outside on a warm, sunny day? You might be thankful for certain people being in your life. This may include your kids, your grandma, or your best friend.
Sometimes, the easiest way to express gratitude is simply by showing others you appreciate them.
- Compliment a stranger—If you admire someone’s shoes or haircut, why not tell them? Often, we keep these compliments to ourselves because it might feel weird to tell the other person, especially if you don’t know them. It’s only weird if you make it weird. “I love those shoes!” Then you can go on your way. It doesn’t have to be a whole conversation.
- Let someone ahead of you in line—We’ve all been there. You’re buying groceries for your family of five (read: overflowing cart) and the person behind you has a gallon of milk. Why not let them cut in front of you? Yeah, you’ve been waiting and you have things to do too, but what does it take? How much longer will it be for them to pay for their one item? Not long at all, and it will probably be a welcome addition to their day to not have to wait for you (especially once you pull out your stack of coupons)
- Cherish your friends—when was the last time you told your friend how important they are to you? Not because of anything they’ve done, but just for being there? My best friend is a card person. There have been times in my life when things have been super sucky and it’s like she knows it and a card appears in the mail. It’s nothing big, but it’s enough to make me remember life isn’t all bad. You can be that person for your friend.
- Listen deeply—Often, even though we are paying attention to what someone is saying, we’re not really listening because we’re thinking about what we plan to say next. Practice listening deeply—give your full focus to what someone is talking about even if they’re talking about something you’re not interested in. This might be difficult if you have attention problems, but you can try and it’s likely the person will be able to recognize the effort you’re putting in.
Notice the small stuff
Promise yourself you won’t take little things for granted. The hustle and bustle if life makes it difficult to notice small bits of daily wonder. A gratitude attitude starts with the little things. If you put the effort in, you’ll be surprised at what you see.
Open your eyes to the wonders all around you. They don’t cost anything. A sunset, a warm cup of tea, or an ice-cold glass of water when you get home from work can be great reasons to feel gratitude. Listening to your kid’s laughter or feeling their arms wrap around you in a hug is plenty to feel grateful for.
Appreciate nature. Most of us don’t get outside as much as we should. I am the first to say that I’m not outdoorsy by any standard. But you don’t have to go camping or hiking to appreciate nature. You can smell the flowers in your neighbor’s yard as you play fetch with your dog. You can walk through the rain instead of making the mad dash from your car to your house.
Take time to go outside more. It can be a quick ten-minute walk through your neighborhood or even just sitting on your front porch and listening to the sounds of families.
Here are some final gratitude attitude tips:
- Make it a regular practice
- Keep it personal (what matters to you)
- Think of something new every day (don’t reuse the same things)
- Think positively about what you have
- Express gratitude often
- Turn your failure into a positive
- Experience nature more often
Your turn—how do you plan to cultivate a gratitude attitude?