Did you know that gratitude has been scientifically proven to strengthen your immune system? Make you happier and more optimistic? Less lonely? Less isolated? Although science has just recently caught up to this fact, the Buddhists have known it for years.
Being grateful for all that we have in life is one of the keys to true happiness. By recognising all of the wonderful things we have to be appreciative for, rather than dwelling on the negative, often those ‘not so wonderful’ things don’t seem so bad after all.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Set time aside on a daily basis, whether this be first thing in the morning or just before bed. A daily practice to remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for.
2. Remember the Bad.
Sometimes it’s okay to look back and remember the difficult times in your life – you can see how far you’ve come. If you have experienced hard times in the past, being grateful in your current state is much easier. When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
3. Practice in the moment awareness.
Being fully present and not wishing for something in the future or dwelling on the past—but just being grateful for what is—can really shift your perspective.
4. Think bigger than yourself.
Volunteer, help out or donate! Become involved in something that is important to you. When you become aware of people who are less fortunate than you, you will start to feel a deeper appreciation for what you do have.
5. Replace complaints with gratitude.
When you find yourself focusing on what you believe you’re lacking—I wish I had a better car, my house were bigger, I had more money—replace it with thoughts of what you are thankful for.
6. Say Thank You more often.
By verbally showing how thankful you are to the important people in your life, you bring more happiness into your own life. Everyone loves to feel appreciated! Tell your dad, your best friend, and your barista that you are grateful for them, and watch what unfolds next. You could potentially make their day, while also reminding yourself that you are surrounded by people who are there to support you.
7. Spend more time in nature.
The walk from your front door to your car doesn’t quite cut it. Even if you’re Mother Nature is just waiting to help you feel better. When your body is functioning at its best, there’s no doubt your mind will follow.
8. Reflect on your day just before you go to sleep
Remember the good things that happened throughout your day, even if they are only minor things like a simple text or a smile from a stranger. When our lives are full, we tend to let things fly by without giving any real thought to how they affect us. By pausing and reflecting on your day you’ll likely find that all those small things can lead to some joy in your life.
9. Stop comparing yourself to others
This one is especially difficult for many people due to the endless magazine covers, Instagram models with airbrushed skin and perfect bodies. But dwelling on other people’s beauty or lifestyle doesn’t help your self esteem. Instead focus on your own strengths and how amazing you are – which you are!
10. Give at least one compliment daily.
This could be to a complete stranger, a old friend, a new friend or a family member. This could even be appreciating something, for example – I love how quiet it is in the evening, don’t you?”