6 Ways To Practice Gratitude & Feel Happier Every Day
Feeling grateful about my life is something I never feel ashamed of; in my opinion, every moment should be cherished. But sometimes I tend to focus on the negative and forget ways to be grateful, even when it feels like things are just not going my way.
The great thing about gratitude is being more aware of what truly makes you happy. Sometimes I forget how awesome life can be and I tend to spiral into a depression when things aren't going my way. But even when times are tough, I try to focus on bringing positivity back into my life. Whether we like it or not, life is never going to be easy, and the one way to appreciate the little things is by starting to practice gratitude every single day. Life is full of surprises and positive moments, but sometimes you just need to search through the rubble to see what is lying underneath.
You might not be able to control every aspect of your life, but you can control your outlook on it. And what's a better way to live than with gratitude and positivity? I spoke with psychologist, Natalie Martinez, who gave a few tips on how to be more grateful in your life and learn how to enjoy the little things.
1. Start The Morning Off Right
Before you start your day, begin each morning by acknowledging what you're grateful for. This can fuel your day with positivity and possibly put you in the right frame of mind. According to Psychology Today, Russell Grieger, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist in private practice, said, "By identifying and focusing on this to start the day, you can set the happiness tone for the day." Instead of checking on social media or your email right when you wake up, practice gratitude until it becomes a habit. Write down three things that you are grateful for in a journal. This act may make you feel more inspired and positive, which may help your own personal journey and career.
2. Spend More Time With The People You Care About
Hanging out with loved ones is a great way for you to feel more thankful in your life. According to The Huffington Post, Robert Emmons, a professor in UC Davis' psychology department and author of Gratitude Works, said, "Gratitude really helps us connect to other people." Emmons continued, "It actually strengthens relationships and relationships are the strongest predictors of happiness and coping with stress." If these people are positive influences in your life already, then surrounding yourself with them can make your outlook to life more positive and may even influence you to be happier.
3. Know The Difference Between Wants And Needs
Sometimes it can be easy to confuse what you want vs what you need out of life. To be more grateful, it's best to try to establish the difference between the two of these. According to psychologist Nicole Martinez, "We all have many things we want, but life has a way of giving us what we need instead. If we realize the difference, we will be grateful for what we have. Often we will realize we already have all we could ever want, and that we don't need luxuries and excesses."
4. Express Love and Gratitude
You'll feel more grateful in life when you put that positive energy out into the world. Don't be shy to tell others how much you care for them or express how passionate you are about a certain thing. Life is about living each moment with a purpose. According to The Huffington Post, Emmons said, "Grateful people have a particular linguistic style." While ungrateful people tend to focus on regret and loss, thankful people will normally talk about their blessings and fortune. "The trick is to watch your mouth! We are what we say," continued Emmons. Always be aware of what you're putting out into the world. What you give is what you'll receive.
5. Let Go Of The Negativity, Focus On The Positive
While it's OK to have bad days every now and then, it's can really be easy to spiral into anger sometimes. Instead, try to embrace the good times as much as you can. According to PsychCentral, Susan Orenstein, Ph.D, a licensed psychologist and relationship expert in Cary, N.C., said,"See if you can hang onto the ‘positive aftertaste’ of an experience — a taste, a sight, a sound, a feeling — just a few extra seconds.” When you savor these moments, you may be able to slow time down and enjoy life just a little bit more. It's easy to rush through life without enjoying the little things. Embrace life as if each day is a gift and do things that will make you happy.
6. Be Grateful For Everything That Happens To You, Happy Or Painful
Life is filled with curve balls and tribulations, but what really matters is how you deal with those negative moments. Martinez says, "Be grateful for everything that happens to you, happy or painful, as there is a lesson in each of them that helps us grow. If we can identify and learn the lesson, we will be stronger and more well rounded for it. We will learn to see all things as opportunities for growth." There's no way to control every aspect of your life. Value what you do have, and take everything else with a grain of salt. See the negative moments as challenges you can overcome and grow from, and never view them as times of regret.
Being grateful is a habit that should be embedded into your life. Try to be more aware of your thought pattern and view life as a gift. By surrounding yourself with positive people and jotting down what you're grateful for, you can reverse your thinking to be more positive even when life is kicking you in the butt.
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