It’s no secret the last two years have been tough, making it easy to dwell on what’s not working and what could be better. When you’re focused on negativity, practicing gratitude and giving thanks can be challenging. But what if we told you that is the exact thing you need to do to counteract those bad feelings?
As we enter the second holiday season in a pandemic, we encourage everyone to practice gratitude to improve their mood and their outlook, making it easier to spread a little more kindness and joy.
The Importance of Practicing Gratitude
Gratitude is about focusing on the good things in your life. When you shift your attention to what is working, negativity can't be at the forefront of your thoughts. It's impossible to dwell in fear and anxiety when you're focusing on the things that bring you happiness and joy. You can't do both at the same time. As Succeed On Purpose Founder & CEO Terri Maxwell says, "You get what you focus on."
Additionally, there are numerous studies on how gratitude changes your brain. Expressing gratitude increases dopamine and serotonin levels. These chemicals have a residual effect and make us feel happier and more positive for more extended periods.
Starting your day from a place of positivity opens you up to numerous possibilities you would otherwise be closed off to. If you've felt off or not quite yourself, investing in gratitude may be the thing that starts you on the journey to experiencing the best version of yourself.
5 Ways to Practice Gratitude
Life happens fast. When you get swept up in the day-to-day activities of life, self-care and mindfulness are two of the first things that fall from your to-do list. Develop a routine following these tips to ensure gratitude remains an active part of your life.
1. Schedule Time for Gratitude
It takes practice and time to develop a habit of gratitude that will change your life. We recommend putting aside 30 focused minutes each day. Schedule it in your planner or create an event in your calendar app so you are reminded daily. Commit to being thankful each day.
2. Create a Gratitude List
List the things in life you’re thankful for. Start by saying, “I am grateful for...” and complete the sentence.
Once written down, take a minute to appreciate that person or thing you wrote down. Focus on how you feel in that moment and dwell in that warm feeling.
3. Express Gratitude
Let the people in your life know what they mean to you. Even if it is not possible to do it in person, send a text or email letting them know you’re thankful for who they are and what they do. This action has a positive effect on both you and them.
And don’t reserve your thankfulness for those closest to you — express gratitude to a stranger holding the door or the clerk at the grocery store. Let people know you appreciate what they do for you.
4. Avoid Negative Forces
Certain things in our lives make us feel bad, whether it's a toxic person or a particular television program or news outlet. While we can't always avoid these things, don't hesitate to say no, disable notifications, or turn off the TV when that source of negativity shows up.
5. Clear Your Energy
When negativity builds up, it has both mental and physical implications. You can follow a simple process to distance yourself from that negativity and replace it with positive feelings and thoughts. Follow this methodology to release negativity and clear your energy.
Create More Reasons to Say, “I am Grateful.”
We all have things to be grateful for, but if you have something in your life that’s hurting your ability to feel it, it may be time to make a change. Whether it’s a job you dread, a toxic relationship, or the feeling something is missing from your life; it’s time to address it.
Start by practicing gratitude daily following these five tips:
Succeed On Purpose can help you get the clarity you need to fix those things preventing you from feeling grateful. Discover your purpose and create a roadmap to become the best version of yourself with our Get Clarity course.
November 13 is World Kindness Day. Just like a flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others, we believe you must be kind to yourself before you can spread kindness. Learn to be kind to yourself, others, and the world.