31 May The Importance of Practicing Gratitude
Living a life with gratitude is about more than being polite to others. Thanking those around you regularly is certainly a nice thing to do, but being grateful can help generate a variety of benefits that may surprise you.
Today we’re going to talk about why having gratitude is such an important part of a happy and healthy life, as well as some steps you can take to practice being more thankful every day.
What Gratitude Really Means
As Jen Sincero describes in her book You Are a Badass, gratitude is “a state of being” and “is about having an awareness of, and a deep appreciation for, the many miracles in your life.” This means that it’s not just about being thankful for someone treating you to lunch or helping you with a difficult task — it’s about not taking your life for granted.
Between having a roof over our heads, being able to afford food on the table, having great family members or close friends, or doing work you love, there are whole areas of our lives that often become so normal that we forget to consciously be thankful that they exist in the first place.
Gratitude is a Great Way to Attract Positive Energy
The whole universe is made up of energy, including each and every one of us. And whether you’ve realized it yet or not, positive and negative energy have the ability to foster or prevent amazing things from happening in your life.
When we focus too heavily on all the things we wish were different in our lives, negative energy roadblocks start forming in our paths. However, when we choose to spend our days practicing gratitude, we are fueling the positive energy forces that have the power to create more miracles (both big and small).
Another reason why gratitude is so important is because it helps us to notice the details more easily. If our minds are stuck in the trenches and too worried about the drama, pain, and controversy, we:
- Have a harder time seeing an “out” or exit strategy for our challenges
- Miss out on most (or all) of the really awesome parts of our lives that do exist — right now
- And we often begin to believe that no other positive things are ever going to come our way.
Instead, we can choose to take off those dark blinders, seek out the good that we have going on already, and be more open to receiving more gifts from the universe we otherwise would have turned away subconsciously.
How to Practice More Gratitude
One of the best ways to start making a shift in your life through gratitude is by taking the time to make note of what you’re thankful for — every day. Some people prefer to do this either once in the morning or once at night, but it can also be really helpful to do both. You might find it helpful to write them down in a journal or computer document, or you can create some gratitude-focused affirmations you say aloud each day.
Practicing gratitude may also involve cutting back on the temptation to constantly focus on (or buy!) the things you don’t have. This can really be a challenge for many of us, especially now that it’s so easy to see what everyone else is doing/seeing/experiencing/purchasing through social media. But it really is a key piece of the process that can help you feel more at ease and content with your life.
And probably the hardest step of them all: practicing gratitude even for the hard times in life. We all come across challenges, emotional pain, or other negative things occasionally. But it’s how we deal with those situations that impact our overall well being. When this happens, try looking at it from a different, more positive perspective. You can choose how you react to any given situation and even choose the story you decide to tell about it. You might also try reminding yourself about other areas in your life (health, love, family, a home) that are more important than this temporary issue (flat tire, an angry email, broken phone).