Why should you want to experience more gratitude in life? That’s the easy part. It feels good, and that’s a good enough reason for me.
Although if that’s not enough for you, Dr. Rock Hansen, PH.D. tells you:
Gratitude, gladness, and related feelings like appreciation are easy to dismiss, but studies in fact show that cultivating them has lasting and important benefits, including lifting your mood, increasing satisfaction with life, and building resilience.
Whether you’re grateful for someone’s kindness or thoughtfulness , an appreciation of the beauty of nature, or maybe the acknowledgement of good things in general, gratitude matters. Gratitude is life enhancing.
Every magical moment you’ve encountered in life is something to be grateful for.
Think of the times you’ve felt gratitude in life, it plain old feels good. Right?
And the beauty of gratitude is that you’re never too old, to young, too unhappy or too fearful to live gratefully.
Finding that something to be grateful for creates a ripple effect through every area of your life, supporting the fulfillment of dreams, or your desire for greater health or better relationships, even for that seemingly elusive need for inner peace.
What do you have going for you right now?
Family and friends. Love. Health. Happy memories. Music you love. A good cup of coffee or in my case it would be a nice cup of tea! What else? Maybe nothing bad happened today. Maybe you were given a day off from work, or you had a friendly exchange with a stranger or a co-worker.
We may not have all the things we’d like or need or want on our list, but that probably leaves oodles of things we can feel grateful for.
Trying to be grateful for the small mundane things in life sometimes isn’t an easy feat, but if you can find and acknowledge even just one a day, it will bring untold benefits.
Don’t get me wrong there are times when life sucks, times when physical or emotional experiences run your life, and every day brings physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion.
I have endured the most horrible pain for eighteen months out of the last two years. It was either excruciating and would take my breath away and physically immobilize me until it had passed. Or it was just extremely painful and believe it or not I found myself being grateful for the latter!
Imagine a world where you couldn’t brush your teeth for weeks, or eat or drink or speak or even walk without having to stop until pain passed. And sadly it wasn’t a second or two. There were times when it was as long as five minutes, which believe me would feel like hours.
Slowly, as fifteen months arrived and the new treatment I was receiving began to minimize the pain a little I would find myself filled to the brim with gratitude, which sometimes would last for over an hour. It was an amazing energy to live in.
Thankfully, today I am on the way to total recovery from this neurological condition.
Haven’t quite got there yet, but it’s amazing how easy it is to be grateful for the mundane things of life, like brushing my teeth without worrying about triggering a bout of pain, or eating a sandwich in much less than the hour it had been taking me, or talking for more than three or four sentences without stopping till the pain passed.
Feeling grateful to experience all the mundane processes of life and for the freedom from unbearable pain has led me to continuously look for and practice feeling gratitude and experience more contentment and wellbeing.
So let’s get on with how you can experience more gratitude in your life.
How to up your gratitude quotient
1. Be aware of feeling grateful
When you feel grateful or thankful for something or someone, pause and pay attention. Even if it’s only for a few seconds.
A 2021 study of 133 Chinese mindfulness practitioners showed that the practice of mindfulness and gratitude can lead to a significantly greater sense of contentment and wellbeing.
Upping the number of times you feel thankful in the day is how you can experience more gratitude in life – set a timer to remind you to think of it more frequently. Frequency is one of your hidden powers.
2. Conduct experiments
I’m a great believer in experimentation. When I learn something new about how life works, I try it out for myself. If it works in my life, fantastic. And I’m happy to share it. If not, I learned something.
A lot has been written about gratitude or thankfulness experiments, yet it’s true to say it’s a pretty soft science territory right now. It’s also true that pretty reliable research tells us that whatever we do to increase our gratitude pays off.
So it’s worth it to find what resonates and is enjoyable and effective for you.
3. Gratitude journals
A lot has been written and spoken about keeping a gratitude journal and whilst this isn’t one of ‘my things’ I can honestly see the benefit of it. For one, it’s a great way to recount your feelings of gratitude over a period of time.
If it were me with my journal I would probably choose three to five things a day that I felt grateful or thankful for and what the source of this was. It could be anything from words someone said that felt good, the gratitude I felt for loved ones, experiences, or my favorite walk….anything.
Anything allows you to be more aware of how you can experience more gratitude in life.
4. Rose, thorns and buds
This is a game I’ve read about a few times and it sounds good. Some people play it over dinner with their family, others with a friend or partner and some simply play it by themselves, and perhaps add it to their journalling.
And if this metaphor doesn’t work for you, pick something that does, it could be related to sports or any subject that resonates with you.
It works like this. The rose is the highlight of the day. Something positive and happy making. Just paying attention to the rose is a gratitude making experience.
The thorns are the things that in the beginning might not appear to increase gratitude, but could possibly help you with your challenges, which could then turn that thorn into a rose.
The buds, are roses that haven’t yet bloomed. I know you knew this, but I still had to write it! Buds are something you have to look forward to. This is a way to stay in the gratitude zone every time you think of your bud.
5. Happiness jars
An idea made more popular because of the Elizabeth Gilbert Book “Eat, Pray, Love” and one which is easily practiced.
The basic idea is to write down the happiest experience of the day and put it into a jar. Then whenever you feel less than grateful in your day, take a quick look in your happiness jar and voila, you are reminded of those happy moments and maybe feel gratitude for them all over again.
You could simply focus on the act of saying thank you more frequently. Not for anything in particular, just to affirm thankfulness in life.
That’s what I do when I awake in the night and can’t get back to sleep. I simply repeat, like a mantra, thank you, thank you, thank you. Then when I do fall asleep again, and I usually do, it’s with the idea of thankfulness and gratitude being imprinted on my subconscious mind.
This is one of my current favorite experiments because it works wonders. The next day I seem to experience many more things working out in my favor. I love that.
I have found gratitude to be the ultimate, easiest path to receiving.
Undoubtedly your life is far from easy. And that’s true for us all. But hand on heart if you take a few moments each day to find something in this day you can be grateful for you’ll be shocked at how it begins to transform your world.
The road is likely to be a bit bumpy, but if you can deliberately choose to focus on something that’s working in your life you will slowly begin to feel more hope and optimism for your future.
Find some compassion for yourself for where you are and try to remember you have been gifted with divine potential and enormous capacity, focus on this not on what you see right in front of you. Gratitude is your best weapon. It’s your ally in helping you escape from the thieves that derail your happiness, contentment and wellbeing.
Get back on track to that life of peace and ease that is your birthright through the power of gratitude and never hesitate to feel gratitude.
Encourage one another.