It’s that time of year. Yes, you know it; the time of year when everyone starts talking about how to raise levels of thankfulness and gratitude. Well, it may be silly or cliché, but it’s a good thing. We should always be striving to be more thankful, and not just at Thanksgiving but year round. What if everyone implemented the practices below? I’d wager we would all be happier and more content.
1. Keep a gratitude journal
Take time every day to write down the things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. But there is something to be said about putting pen to paper and writing out what you are thankful for you in your life. Studies show that those that take the time to keep a gratitude journal have higher levels of thankfulness.
2. Remember the bad
During the times in your life when you find yourself complaining or wishing for better days, remember the bad times. That sounds backwards. We are supposed to remember the good times right? Yes of course but there are also benefits to remembering how bad things once were. Remember that you made it through them. Remember that you survived. And possibly they will make you realize that right now, isn’t as bad as your first thought.
3. Go Through the Motions
You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” before. That same basic principle also applies when striving to become more grateful. If a person chooses to smile even when they don’t feel like it; chooses to say thank you even when they may not really be thankful, and attempts to practice all other actions that exude gratefulness, then it will trigger TRUE gratefulness in the process of “faking it”.
Spend time volunteering. The reality is organizations within YOUR town or city NEED help. And the best part is volunteering improves happiness and gratitude within the volunteer. It’s a win-win.
5. Spend time with loved ones
Spending time with the people that you truly care about that truly care about you simply makes your heart happier and improves thankfulness. It’s a no-brainer, surround yourself with TRUE friends.
6. Use visual reminders
We ALL need reminding of who and what we want to be. It’s easy to lose focus. This is why visual reminders are key. Write on stick notes “Gratefulness” or “thankfulness” or other key phrases that you like. Then put them everywhere; the fridge, bathroom mirror, car dashboard. Surround yourself with reminders.
7. Check for Silver Linings
Some situations that life throws us into are just all around bad. There is nothing good or so it appears. However, often if we look very very hard we can find the good in nearly all tragedies. It may take time to see the good or you may find the silver lining instantly. Either way remembers to always LOOK for them. They aren’t always clear, but they are usually there. Finding the positive in everything produces a more thankful attitude.