With the holiday season upon us, now is a great time to express gratitude within ourselves and toward others.
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. With a gratitude mindset, mental state grows stronger with use and practice. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:
Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Make a habit of sending or delivering at least one gratitude letter a month. Once a month, write one to yourself.
Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down thoughts about the gifts you received each day.
Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings – reflecting on what went right or what you are thankful for. Be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
Pray. You can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgement (i.e. focus on a word such as “peace” or something your grateful for).