…A life well lived is one of gratitude and thankfulness.
1. Don’t be picky: appreciate everything
…The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.
2. Find gratitude in your challenges
Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. In fact, sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for. Dig a little deeper into some of your own past experiences and try to figure out how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.
3. Practice mindfulness
Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. The trick is that you need to picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day will rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session. It only takes eight weeks of gratitude practice for people to start showing changed brain patterns that lead to greater empathy and happiness.
4. Keep a gratitude journal
Write down your positive thoughts to further focus your attention on the subject. While you are putting the pen to paper, you have no choice but to consciously think about the words you are writing without other distracting, ungrateful thoughts.
5. Help Others
University of Pennsylvania professor, Martin Seligman, supports this theory with his research in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. After testing all kinds of variables that help improve our well-being, he found that volunteering is the single most reliable way to momentarily increase your well-being. In other words: helping others helps you!
6. Express yourself
Not only does expressing your gratitude for someone make their day a little brighter, but it can do wonders for increasing your own levels of gratitude and happiness in the long run.
7. Spend time with loved ones
Why don’t you make sure you’re listening intently the next time someone shares a story with you instead of waiting for your own chance to speak? Or start a conversation with a difficult member of the family by complimenting their new shoes or hair-cut.
8. Improve your happiness in other areas of your life
Once you are feeling the endorphins flow, showing gratitude will become even easier and you’ll start to be able to make list after list of all of the things in your life you’re thankful for.