Gratitude relates to life satisfaction, so with gratitude comes happiness and contentment. I’ve previously written about why mood improves with an attitude of gratitude and I pointed out that people who show higher levels of gratitude tend to be more attentive, helpful, enthusiastic, optimistic and determined. The good news is gratitude is also a skill you can learn, develop and refine over time and, as with all skills, the more you practice the easier it becomes. There are many different ways we can learn gratitude but here are 12 simple every day activities that can help move things along:
Dealings with others:
- It’s more of a struggle if you spend time with negative people. Try to surround yourself with those who have a positive attitude.
- Smile at people even if it feels like a strain. You’ll feel the benefits afterwards.
- Tell loved ones that you love them.
- Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
- Get used to giving compliments.
- Listen to people’s stories.
Dealings with yourself:
- Decide to be more positive.
- Don’t be harsh on yourself over perceived failings; just do your best.
- Spend time reflecting each day, reflecting on what’s been good about it.
- If you enjoy writing, or think you might, keep a daily journal about the positives. Then, if times do become bleak, use it to remind yourself that it’s not that bad.
- Look for the good in situations, even if at times it can be hard to find.
- Remembering the bad times can sometimes reveal how far you’ve come. With this often comes a sense of gratitude as you compare then with now.
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Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.