Are you looking for ways to improve your gratitude? I’m so excited to share with you how you can raise the bar when it comes to living in a state of gratefulness and appreciation.
Trust me, everything will change once you start practicing these five new ways to improve your gratitude. Soon, you’ll be exploding with appreciation!
It’s no secret that entitlement can be contagious and can quickly go from a tiny tickle in the back of your mind to a raging issue. This attitude of “me first” and “I deserve because” buries all the gratitude in your life and can turn your life upside down.
Ingratitude and a lack of care for the things we have can end up costing you. Learning to be grateful for all the little things in your life is a skill you must practice over time.
There are many ways to uplevel your gratitude over time, but some of the best only takes a little patience, effort, and attention. Before you know it, you’ll find your life back on track with a whole new outlook and attitude.
What is Gratitude?
It’s always best to start with the basics!
What is gratitude? (We think we know, but do we really?)
This can often feel like a code word for any type of warm and fuzzy feeling that creeps in when you experience something. But there’s a real definition for gratitude that guides how you’ll want to approach learning to be more grateful!
Gratitude is defined as
an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.-Robert Emmons
Gratitude is a positive emotion that revolves around being thankful and appreciative. This is often in response to people or things that spark a little joy, warmth, and kindness in your heart.
There are so many ways to improve your gratitude!
Your Health and Gratitude
Your mind impacts your overall health. Have a bad attitude, and you might end up with knots in your shoulders, grinding your teeth all night, or a permanently clenched fist.
Find yourself feeling ungrateful, and that can turn into physical embodiments like wrinkles, acne, and even gut issues.
Gratitude and a changed attitude can switch not just your mental health but your physical health too!
Physical Health Benefits of Gratitude
One of the more profound ways you’ll see gratitude benefit your physical health is through a whole new engagement with healthy behaviors. It’s much easier to eat well, exercise regularly, and engage with activities when you realize how grateful you are for what you have!
This new level of gratitude can bring you a whole new peace of mind, leading to better and deeper sleep, a stronger immune system, and a heightened immune system. Changing just a few little things to feel gratitude more deeply can affect your whole life in no time!
Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude starts in the mind, so, logically, the biggest benefit of a change in your gratefulness will be in your mental health.
Everyone is up against a different battle in life and their mental space, but it’s been shown that expressing gratitude more frequently can quickly improve your mood.
While changing the way you look at the world may not feel like a huge accomplishment, it can help make you more optimistic and improve social bonds.
6 Ways to Improve Your Gratitude
Gratefulness can feel like something you’re born with, but it’s actually a learned behavior and emotion. You can practice your skills and learn to be more grateful over time.
This will require some serious concentration, practice, and dedication, so get ready! Don’t give up at the first signs of trouble. Instead, dig in deep and continue working toward your goal of being more grateful with every situation.
These top five ways to improve your gratitude are just a start on your journey toward a more grateful lifestyle. Work each day to keep up with these newfound skills so you can continue growing and learning and impacting the world around you!
Each of the top 6 ways to improve your gratitude will have a way for you to practice your new skills. Take the time to make sure you practice what you’re learning and be intentional with these new habits. After all, practice makes perfect!
1. Say “Thank You” More Often
Gratitude starts in the heart, but by simply saying thank you even when you don’t think it’s deserved, you’ll change the way you think and feel about something.
This goes for even the most mundane things around your house. It can be easy to slip into a pattern of demanding rather than requesting things from your partner, family, kids, or friends. Take the time to say thank you after someone holds the door, passes food down the table, or offers you a compliment.
This simple act of voicing your thanks can change the pathways in your brain. We often take people and things for granted in our lives, but by simply offering up a heartfelt thank you, we can change the way we’re perceived and the way we see the world.
This can be especially true of children. It’s important to make sure the words are connected with heartfelt emotion. We fill our lives with sarcastic or ungrateful “thank you’s,” and it can take the full force of the words out of context. Take a moment to give the phrase its full weight and your full measure of gratitude when you express it to the people around you!
- Practice saying thank you more often and giving it its full weight. Take a moment to journal or write down all the people you’re thankful for in your life.
- Don’t skip around and try to cut your time short. Spend a thoughtful, reflective amount of time on this step of the process.
- Once you’ve written out your list, seek out those people!
- This might mean typing out a text or email, giving someone a call, or just walking down the hall. The simple act of saying those words, meaning what you say, and taking the time to say it can drastically change your mindset.
2. Stop and Notice What’s Around You
Nature and your surroundings are full of beautiful things that we often take for granted!
Have you taken time to notice how your spouse sets out your favorite coffee mug each morning? Or the way the neighbors’ flowers are blooming this time of year? All of these things can go under the radar, but by pausing, you’ll see them and appreciate them and foster a new level of gratitude for the beauty of nature or the appreciation of a spouse.
This pause in your life can be incredibly enlightening as you take stock of everything that’s happening around you. A lack of gratitude for small things can quickly cause a relationship to suffer or give friends and neighbors a lousy impression. Once you stop to see these things, it gives you a chance to act and show your gratitude before it becomes too late.
A simple pause in your life is healthy for you! It allows you to meditate on your situation, take stock of where you’re truly at and make a plan for the future.
- Take a walk in nature!
- As you walk along, look around. What do you see, and what do you feel grateful for? Allow yourself to be immersed in the situation and in nature itself.
- The fresh air, exercise, and mindfulness build together to create an atmosphere that showcases where you can be more grateful within your life. This also gives you an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and see more of the world.
- Take time to breathe in the fresh air and notice your surroundings as you walk.
- If you’re into journaling, bring along your journal and write about the scene before you, taking care to note what you enjoy about it all.
- If you like photography, snap a picture or two of the natural landscape or the people you’re with to remember the moment!
3. Share With Others
Gratitude only goes so far when you keep it to yourself!
The feeling of gratitude creates new bonds between you and the others in your life. If you don’t ever share this with others, you’ll never quite find yourself as grateful as you’d like.
Community is a large part of gratitude and is an excellent source for you to see and experience more gratitude each day. Expressing this emotion is the perfect way to strengthen and reinforce the bonds you have with your community. A small act and encouragement in the form of spoken or written gratitude can go a long way!
By keeping silent about things you appreciate in your community and among your connections, you run the risk of them never knowing just how grateful you are for them and their presence.
- Take time to look at all your partner, kids, friends, or colleagues do for you and start sharing your gratitude and encouragement. This might be in the form of a text, call, letter, spoken word, or another form of communication.
- Craft your message and make sure to express your appreciation.
4. Keep Away From Complaints
It never fails. Something in your day is sure to rub you the wrong way, and our first response is often to complain or whine.
This might be the most challenging step toward gratitude! Rather than complaining or whining, make a concentrated effort to avoid all complaints. The ungrateful aspect that comes with complaining can change your whole perspective for the day. Even if you’re not the one complaining, listening to someone else vent and let off steam in this manner can leave you feeling really ungrateful for everything you have.
Not complaining can be hard to do for a day but work hard to stay away from complaints and those who would complain in your life.
- Take a good look at your life and your day in particular and identify where you might run into some complaints or people who would complain.
- Schedule your time and activities, so you won’t need to put yourself in that situation.
- When confronted with the opportunity to complain, try to find the good in the situation and insert some gratitude.
- You’d be surprised how you can change the whole tone of a conversation with just a little bit of appreciation!
5. Write a Letter
We don’t write letters much anymore, but there’s something therapeutic about writing out a letter, long-hand. Typing words on a computer or through a phone can feel very impersonal, but by writing it out with pen and paper, you infuse the situation with a whole new sense of purpose.
Take time in your search to become more grateful to write out a letter of thanks to someone who impacted your life in a big way! This could be a teacher, family member, colleague, or community member who invested in you and helped you reach this stage in your life.
Throughout the letter, be sure to thank them and show how appreciative you are of their investment in your life!
- Just write!
- Sit down and write out who you’ll be sending a letter. Write down what you’re grateful for as well as how they’ve impacted your life.
- As you’re writing, jot down ideas for others you could reach out to, and share your newfound gratitude!
6. Get Creative
Gratitude and showing that emotion can start to feel like autopilot after a while, leaving you struggling with just being in a rut. Don’t let yourself get stuck again!
Work hard to be creative in how you share and feel gratitude! There are innumerable ways to experience true appreciation and share that with others.
So spend time getting creative!
- Go with the flow today!
- Start today with only the thought of experiencing gratitude at the forefront of your mind. Keep your eyes and ears open for options that allow you to show off and feel gratitude more fully.
- As you find new ways to show off gratitude, write them down. Keep track of them in your journal so you can revisit them and continue building a new life that centers around a grateful heart and mind!
Keep on showing gratitude
Every new emotion or rediscovered one requires a little practice.
Keep working hard to see gratefulness even on the hard days, and you’ll soon find your heart wholly changed and your outlook on life renewed!
Ready to take the next step and have a community to support you throughout this journey?