Gratitude is many things to many people. It is wonder, it is appreciation, it is looking on the bright side of a setback. It is fathoming abundance. It is thanking someone in your life, it is thanking god. It is counting blessings. It is savoring. It is not taking things for granted, it is coping, it is present oriented.
Here are 7 ways to cultivate gratitude in your life
1. Make a blessings list
We love to-do lists. They keep us motivated, they organize us and they push us to do better but with our busy lives we hardly get time to create lists of things we are thankful for. Next time you write a list, for every goal you wish to accomplish, write something you are blessed with. Make it a point to appreciate what you have, while still striving to improve.
2. Make positivity your company
Gratitude comes when you have a positive heart. If you are in constant community with people who are always looking at what they need or gauging their success on a scale with someone else, there will never be true peace in the present moment. So choose to focus on the individual who brings you happiness and joy rather than gossip, comparison and bitterness.
3. Take a moment for internal prayer
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to cultivate gratitude is to simply be intentional about it. Take a moment when you first wake up and pray and thank God for the love, healing and growth he brought into your life. If prayer and faith aren’t for you then give yourself five minutes of quiet meditation. Spend this time by actively appreciating life rather than thinking about what to do next.
The act of self-sacrifice is incredibly humbling and helps to ground you in the truth of what you do have. When you are looking at someone else’s happiness rather than your own, that unselfishness can help remind you of all your blessings and can shift your focus from material things to a greater purpose.
5. Slow down
Our culture is always about go go go. There is always something more we can be doing, some new trend to follow or some idea to pursue that we haven’t mastered yet. When we look around it feels like there’s an endless number of people who are more successful, prettier, stronger and richer and we choose to focus on things we don’t have or aren’t , we will feel unsatisfied. But instead of getting caught up in that rush, slow down. Take an intentional breath. Refocus. Stop putting all your energy and attention into what you are lacking and remember the good that is in you and all around you.
6. Look back
We are often encouraged to look forward. This is healthy and inspiring, but sometimes there is value in looking back because it shows how far you have come. Instead of looking at what we have left, or how far we still need to go or what we need to accomplish, looking back gives us a perspective of all that we have conquered. This change in perspective regrounds us in our purpose and reminds us of our strength.
Surround yourself with people who speak words of encouragement and inspiration. Whether it’s a family member, friend or motivational speaker. Draw in that positive energy and exhale the negative. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in ourselves, we need to take time out to listen rather than to talk.