Gratefulness is one of the things people take for granted. Yet, it is one of the most critical elements for leading a happy life. Expressing gratitude daily is known to improve your life. Many people credit where they are today to developing a practice of daily gratitude. In fact, to develop a grateful heart and appreciate yourself and others is one of the keys to life.
What is often forgotten is gratitude and attitude are choices. And, gratitude can make all the difference. Appreciating the lessons you learn when things are not going as planned helps with turning things round to be more positive.
On days when you are feeling down finding one to threes things to be grateful for, helps to see light at the end of the tunnel. I know as I’ve been there. I’ve turned to gratitude and appreciating the nature around me. I found that dark days can become brighter. Sad days do become happier.
Like the suns rays beaming between the clouds, appreciation turns the darkness into light.
Let’s look at the rain. It brings both joy and sadness. I know many people who get really down when it rains, even though here in Australia we really need the rain. When it rains there is often a rainbow. It is always wonderful to see a rainbow. There is something about rainbows that make people happy.
Rain without a rainbow is also to be appreciated. Rain fills our dams, the supply of our drinking water and also provides moisture to the plants and food we eat.
Just appreciate rain for being rain. The feel of the raindrops, the beauty of nature, the sound of the raindrops and the joy of splashing in the puddles created by the rain.
Ahhhh those childhood memories, do you remember them?
The Benefits of Gratitude.
It has been scientifically proven that there are multiple benefits of gratitude.
Forbes lists 7 benefits in their article a few of them I note below.
- Improving relationships. I refer to how gratitude helped improve my relationship with my husband in point 4 – Appreciate people daily.
- Gratitude improves physical health.
- Improves psychological health. This too I have seen first hand as though the focus on gratitude my husband’s anxiety decreased.
- With gratitude, you are more empathic and have less anger or hostile tendencies.
- One of the benefits of seeing things through grateful eyes is it enables you to see the positive outcomes and solutions to problems. Hence increasing personal growth and mental awareness.
- Another positive aspect of living in gratitude is the joy it brings to you and the people around you. For gratitude is contagious.
- Gratitude improves self esteem and reduces enviness.
Why focus on developing gratitude?
If the benefits above aren’t enough reasons to focus on gratitude or start developing a daily habit to practise gratitude, does personal growth inspires you? Gratefulness enables an abundance of happiness and personal growth.
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.Oprah Winfrey.
I once read that it is difficult to be sad when reading positive quotes. I enjoy reading inspiring and motivating quotes daily. I’m grateful for everyone who shares them, as inspiring words brighten the day. I also know that it can be difficult to express gratitude when you are feeling low.
Recently I was listening to an audible book from Rachel Hollis ‘Girl Stop Apologizing’ where she talks about writing 10 things she’s grateful for at the end of each day. We all have our ups and downs in life and sometimes need to dig deep to find things to be grateful for. Yet, when you practice writing 10 things daily that you are grateful for, you begin to see all the positives that contribute to your life and the world around you.
This appreciation helps you to develop a grateful heart and can turn your darkest days, weeks or even months around into more positive experiences.
A good thing about learning to be grateful is it improves your mental strength making it easy to forgive others and overcome things troubling you from your past more easily. Gratefulness also boosts your confidence in defending yourself against bullies and negative people.
Additionally, gratitude allows you to learn from your past mistakes, boosts your positive emotions like;
Gratitude even eradicates the sense of entitlement allowing you to work harder. In fact, just being grateful improves your overall health immensely.
How to develop a grateful heart.
1. Let A Gratitude Journal Guide You To A More Grateful Heart.
One way is keeping a gratitude journal. Journaling can help you to develop a more thankful mindset. One way to use a journal is to remind yourself of all the good things you have in your life like; valuable people in your life, beautiful moments or experiences, you’re strengths and your lessons.
Related post: 5 Ways to start a personal journal.
With so many good things to draw on every day, aim to think of and write down 3 things daily that you are grateful for. Write them down in your gratitude journal or in a notebook.
Journaling is great for your health. Writing 3 things you are grateful for is a start to journaling. This worksheet of 30 journal prompts will help you think of other ideas to journal about.
Sometimes it is difficult to think of 3 things that you are grateful for. Yet, there is so much to be grateful for daily. Here are three things to be grateful for every day.
Appreciate The Gift of Life.
Life is priceless. You should be thankful for every second you are alive. Why? Well, being alive allows us to enjoy other free but important pleasures of life. Pleasures like the sunrise, the sunset, rainfall, a roof over your head, family, friends and even colleagues.
Everything may be going wrong or feeling like it is going wrong. However, you can turn things around as soon as you believe you can. You can. Start by seeing the positiveness around you. Be grateful for the moments in your life. The good and the ones that make you stronger.
Be Thankful For Drinkable Water and A Your Daily Food.
Have you ever considered that millions of people across the world don’t have access to drinkable water and good food? You should always be grateful for having some food to eat. As you enjoy your food or push aside your plate, pause for a minute and remember that not everyone can afford a tasty, healthy and hot plate of food or a glass of drinkable water.
When I was younger I did a few overseas aid trips and part of one of the trips included the building of wells to bring water closer to villages. In some of the villages, many young children were left to fend for themselves because the family could not afford food.
Both food and clean drinking water are taken so much for granted. Yet, there are people starving not only in third world countries but in all countries around the world.
If you are looking at ways you can help the hungry do a little research to find places near you that take food donations. The food is then given out to those in need or used in shelters to feed the homeless.
Foodbank reports that 18% of Australian have experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months. (2019)
Appreciate Good Health.
You have every reason to be grateful for being in a good state of health. While you are taking your good health for granted, someone somewhere is in a hospital bed or succumbing to his or her illness.
Jim Rohn says “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.”
Looking after my body and health better is something I wish I had taken more seriously when I was younger. But I can’t live in the past so I am grateful for the shared knowledge that enables me to improve my health.
If health is your concern too, be thankful for the advancement in medicine and lifestyle changes for the improved research and knowledge helps with healing.
Here are a further 21 things we take for granted that we shouldn’t that you can write in your gratitude journal.
2. Use Visual Reminders That Bring Joy Into Your Life
I recently created a vision board of what I would like in my future life to look like. On the vision board are pictures of my family, they are my ‘why’. The reason I am learning the skills to work solely online. I”m happy when I see their photos and will be happier when I spend time with them.
When you put up photos of what you like around you, be it family, friends, places you have visited or would like to visit, you tend to be happier and more thankful. You focus more on your goals.
Although the vision board I created was one for the future. I also have an appreciation board which was given to me by family. It shows how my family see me and reminds me to continue following my dreams.
Placing visual reminders up around you can help you cultivate daily gratitude habits.
- Pictures of family around me, bring me joy.
- Photos and pictures of places to visit inspire me.
- Quotes inspire and motivate me.
3. Express What You Are Grateful For.
When you express gratefulness daily you feel content and more joyful. One way to express thankfulness daily is to share something you are grateful for each day.
What started as a conversation starter at our family dinner table became a habit. Every day we all take it in turns to share something we were grateful for that day.
There are days where one of the family members might say ‘today wasn’t a good day, I can’t think of something.’ Yet, with some prompting questions about conversations they’ve had or tasks they’ve done or what they have seen as they have gone about their day, something is always remembered to be thankful for.
Naturally, not everyone likes to share their gratitude when they are new at showing appreciation. This is ok. Write down your gratitude in a journal.
4. Appreciate People Daily.
Let people know you appreciate them. Every day look for ways to appreciate the people who are in your life. When you appreciate the people around you, your own self worth increases and you encourage them to be more thankful towards other people.
I recall Darren Hardy the author of ‘The Compound Effect‘ talk about how he kept a thanksgiving diary for his wife. Every day he wrote something in a diary that he was thankful for about her. A smile, the way she looked or the way she did something. He wrote in the diary for a year and then presented it to her for thanksgiving.
Keeping a personal thanksgiving diary on someone you really love really helps you see and develop stronger feelings for that person. I know this as I did it. Writing something positive I saw in my husband every day in a private journal throughout 2012. I know it helped with our relationship.
5. Focus On What You Have.
Count the blessings you have not the things you’d like to have. When you appreciate what you have you cultivate happiness. For it is not happiness that makes us grateful but gratitude that makes us happy.
Look after the things you have in your life that you can take care of.
In the book, ‘Girl Stop Apologizing‘ Rachel Hollis speaks about looking after her belongings and making her bed. She speaks about the appreciation she had for the few things she had during her childhood years and then early on in her life. Similar to Oprah, Rachel focused on her haves and not her have nots.
Being grateful for more than material things. See your success and the success of other people through grateful eyes. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This includes appreciating other peoples accomplishments. Through life, we all travel in different ways and do things differently to be where we are. Learn through gratefulness.
Practice the art of appreciation and share your joy. When you are unsure what to share.
Wear a smile and share it, as happiness spreads like wildfire.
A grateful heart is a key to wealth. The wealth of health, the wealth of relationships, the wealth of freedom, the wealth of life.
Write down in the comments three things you are grateful for today.