At this time of year, we’re often reminded to be thankful for the blessings and happiness in our lives. We believe that gratitude should be part of our lives every day, and we should take time regularly to reflect on what we appreciate about the people, animals, and things we love. Someday they might not be there, and being a thankful person tends to attract more to be happy for.
We are all thankful for different things. What one person appreciates, another might wish to be rid of. Gratitude is individual, and here are a few ways to work it into your daily routine.
Make a list.
Write down everything you’re grateful for, no matter how small. Tuck this list into a safe place, and when you’re having a bad day, read it and realize how fortunate you are. It’s easy to think everyone else has more or better than we do, but when you see that your list covers your children, spouse, family, and friends, you’ll feel like the luckiest person alive.
Practice gratitude daily.
Make it a habit to be gratified every day. It may be for something as simple as the car starts or the dogs come running to you when you call. Every day brings something to treasure.
Tell people what you’re grateful for.
Having gratitude and knowing what you’re lucky to have is wonderful, but when you express thanks, you send your happiness out into the world. Don’t be afraid to tell others what you’re happy to have in your life.
Be a model for others.
Let other people see you being grateful. So many are not appreciative of their lives, and when they see, feel, and hear your gracious thanks for your happiness, they may follow suit. When they see you model grateful feelings, they may be motivated to do the same.
Don’t allow others to trample on your gratitude.
Let’s face it—most people are not appreciative of what they have. Unhappy people often try to rain on others’ parades. See this negative behavior for what it is, and ignore it.
Write down your feelings each day, or whenever you feel especially thankful (or not so thankful). Often, the mere act of getting our feelings out where we can see them will intensify the good and minimize the bad. Journaling can be done via computer or the old-fashioned way: a diary with a good lock.