How can I practice gratitude? – Forbes Health
To avoid frustration or distraction when starting out, clarify what kind of gratitude you crave and find ways to integrate it into existing aspects of your life.
What do you hope to achieve with this practice? Do you simply want a greater appreciation for the goodness and pleasures in your life? Do you want to acknowledge and express your gratitude with specific habits or routines? Do you want to spread kindness and generosity to others?
Each of these types of gratitude has value, and there are many ways to experience them.
This method belongs only to you. It requires nothing more than awareness and recognition.
Quiet gratitude is simply recognized happiness.
You can feel this kind of gratitude in a hot shower, with a dear friend, savoring a favorite dish, smelling a bakery as you walk, feeling the power of your feet as you climb a steep hill, or turning your face toward the sun as part of your journey. From the clouds. She can feel it when he discovers that his partner has filled up his car with gas, when his cat curls up to sleep on the back of his neck, or when a coworker offers to help with a challenging project.
These sources of pleasure can happen anytime, anywhere, and the more you notice them, the harder it becomes to forget how sweet they are.
If acknowledging and enjoying those simple pleasures isn’t enough for you, you may want to find ways to express your gratitude.
Journaling in the morning or at night can be a great place to start. If that’s not adequate, gratitude practices as small as sending a thoughtful text to a friend or writing a letter (to keep for yourself or to send) can increase positive emotions and connection and decrease negative feelings, including loneliness.
In The Thank You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Thank You Letter at a Time, author Nancy Davis Kho chronicles her year of writing thank you notes and the unexpected benefits she got from it. She offers a roadmap for readers to do the same.
Loving-kindness meditation is another active way to practice gratitude that has been shown to significantly decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Essentially, it is a method of using meditation to cultivate benevolence and wish people well.
Chade Meng-Tan is the creator of Google’s Search Inside Yourself mindfulness program and co-chair of the Nobel Prize-nominated One Billion Acts of Peace campaign. In his book joy on demand, wrote about a gratitude practice that he recommends in his seminars. He teaches people to take 10 seconds out of every hour at work to do a loving-kindness meditation for one of the people they meet. If remembering to stop every hour to do it seems daunting, try tying your well wishes to a recurring activity you already do, like sending emails, starting or ending virtual meetings, or getting up from your workspace to stretch or grab a snack.
Physical and Environmental
If you’re having a hard time finding the time and energy to take care of your health or do chores around the house, consider looking in your body or your immediate environment for opportunities to be grateful. Taking care of basic things like laundry, dirty dishes, simple snacks, stretching or exercise can become expressions of gratitude for a safe place to live and a body that makes all aspects of life possible.
This last option takes gratitude beyond recognition, offering acts of kindness and generosity to the people around you and to the institutions that keep your community safe and strong.
If you’re short on time, this option may be overkill. Volunteering to help others takes some time and effort, but research shows that it can improve mental and physical health, feelings of life satisfaction, and social well-being. Volunteermatch.org can help you find opportunities in your local area.
Social media can be harmful to mental health if we use it to consume mean content or compare ourselves to unrealistic representations of other people’s lives. However, it can also be a source of connection for people who share common struggles or concerns.
Using your social media platform to advocate for people making a positive impact in the world can be inspiring and empowering. It adds fuel for people doing important work and spreads the word to your network about amazing people and projects you might not have known about otherwise.
If you enjoy affirmations, quotes, or daily tasks, there are also plenty of gratitude apps available to help you create structure around your practice.
acts of kindness
A simple thank you can go a long way in helping the people around you feel valued. Going above and beyond to check on a neighbor, bring food, walk a dog, help with a move, bring flowers, weed a garden, babysit or run an errand can alleviate a significant burden on loved ones and give them room to breathe. . These acts of kindness speak for themselves, no words are needed.
You can also take your acts of kindness out into the community, helping strangers whenever you see an opportunity. Looking at the world through a lens “How I can help?” it opens up all sorts of new connections and can reinforce a more joyous and optimistic worldview.