6 Ways to Bring More Gratitude into Your Life
With Thanksgiving around the corner, many of us are striving to find ways to be more thankful.
To that end, below are six activities that can help you renew your focus on gratitude. Read them over so that you can decide which ones might work best for you.
1. Keep a gratitude journal
If you’re just starting out with gratitude, keeping a gratitude journal can be a great way to make thankfulness into a habit. As the name suggests, the gratitude journal works just like any other diary, except this time, rather than writing what happens to you each day, the focus should be on what you’re grateful for.
That’s not to say that you have to write a novel everyday. In fact, most people keep their gratitude journals short and sweet. Start by focusing on three to five bullet points for things that you are grateful for each day. Then, over time, you can add more as you get into the habit.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be grateful for earth-shattering things each day either. Often, gratitude is found in the small moments, like being able to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or making a friend laugh by telling a joke. But, really, this exercise is a personal one, so anything that makes sense to you will do.
2. Start a “no complaint challenge”
While a “no complaint challenge” might feel challenging at the outset, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. At its core, this challenge is really about re-framing your thoughts to help you stop focusing on the negative aspects of your life and to begin focusing on the positive aspects instead.
The way it works is simple: All you need to do is to start to notice whenever you complain. This can either be out loud or in your head. However, when you do notice a complaint pass through your mind, you’ll want to take the initiative to find the silver lining in the situation.
Over time, you should start to notice that finding the silver lining will start to become a habit. Eventually, you should be able to do it without even thinking about it.
3. Give back to your community
When you want to work on becoming more grateful, giving back to your community is a great way to do it. Donating to a charitable cause, whether it’s through a financial donation or by volunteering your time, will help retrain your focus on all that you have, rather than what you do not.
If you’re unsure of how to get started, websites like VolunteerMatch.com can help connect you with available volunteer opportunities in your area. This website hosts opportunities to get involved with a variety of causes, whether it’s for one day or ongoing.
4. Spend more quality time with loved ones
Next, do your best to spend more time with your friends and family. We all know that life gets busy. However, no matter how busy you become, it’s important to make time for the things that matter in life. Building and maintaining strong relationships is one of those things.
In addition, when you do get to spend time with your loved ones, make it count. Although there is something to be said for just being able to sit in comfortable silence with someone you love, do your best to be present and engage them rather than being on your phone or concentrating on your to-do list.
5. Turn mistakes into growth opportunities
We all make mistakes sometimes. We’re only human. However, even though we know that making mistakes is a natural part of life, they never feel good at the time. Many of us have a tendency to allow our thoughts turn negative when we make a mistake and to get caught up in a shame spiral.
Instead, it’s better to look at mistakes as learning opportunities. With that in mind. the next time a mistake happens in your life, challenge yourself to figure out the lesson learned from this experience. Then, ask yourself what you can do to do better next time.
Truthfully, learning from our mistakes is the way that we grow as human beings. If you can turn your focus to one of growth instead of shame, you’ll be one step ahead in this process.
6. Practice mindfulness
Lastly, do your best practice mindfulness on a regular basis. Mindfulness can mean different things to different people, but in general, it is simply the practice of being aware of the present moment. Many of the activities listed above are aimed at helping you become more mindful, but it never hurts to make a consistent effort.
For some people, practicing mindfulness simply means reminding themselves over and over again to be fully present in the current moment. Other people might meditate or spend more time in nature. At the end of the day, you can decide how your mindfulness practice should be done.