Last updated March 9, 2022
Adopting a new habit such as practicing gratitude is never easy. It takes a lot of focus and consciousness to incorporate said habit into one’s lifestyle—but the best in life doesn’t come easy, and adopting new self-care habits will always pay off in the long run.
Someone once said, “gratitude turns what we have into enough.” This quote has always resonated with me. Most of us are starting to realize now that “more stuff” doesn’t make us any happier. And that, instead, cultivating the practice of being grateful for what we already have just might.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough.
Practicing gratitude daily can open our eyes to how rich we already are. And I’m not just talking financially. Practicing gratitude allows us to realize that happiness is indeed possible with what we have. Gratitude can also diminish this constant need of wanting more that in some cases is ruining our relationships and our planet.
Keep reading for how you can easily make gratitude a daily practice and how it can essentially benefit you.
What exactly is practicing gratitude?
Gratitude is being happy, thankful and finding joy in life’s simple things.
In today’s world, we are always getting bombarded with advertisements for things we “need” or should have. Social media gives us a nice glimpse into what other people have that we feel like we also need to have.
This constant exposure can leave us feeling inadequate, unfulfilled and unsatisfied with what we’ve got. A feeling that will always leave us wanting more.
The truth is that most of us already have exactly what we need to live good, happy lives. If you have a good job, a roof over your head, enough money to buy good food, your health, a loving family and a supportive circle of friends—you’re already way richer than you think.
It’s simple to say that the above are just the basics and they aren’t enough to have a happy and fulfilling life but the key to happiness is in how we view these very issues.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t mean, however, that you have to settle on less. You can dream of a better life for yourself and want more for yourself—more experiences, richer relationships and closer connections.
Practicing gratitude is not about not allowing yourself to have more. It’s all about not taking for granted what you already have, realizing its worth and being thankful for that. It’s about being able to enjoy the little things in life.
The benefits of practicing gratitude
More and more studies these days have shown the beneficial link between gratitude and well-being. In short, practicing gratitude and appreciation generally tends to cultivate positive feelings and thoughts that lead to better mental health and overall well-being.
There are in fact several benefits of practicing gratitude that can have a profound effect on your life.
Improved mindset and outlook of life: By making gratitude a daily habit we are able to see life more positively and with more thankfulness. This then allows us to look at life’s events and situations with more positivity than we might have done otherwise. It completely has the ability to change the way we look at life and at our lives for the better.
Stronger immune systems: Practicing gratitude daily has been linked to decreasing stress and anxiety. Keeping stress levels and anxiety low today isn’t effortless but along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, it can boost the immune system to aid the body’s defense against disease, inflammation and infection.
Better relationships: There’s never any harm in improving and strengthening relationships and connections with loved ones. After all, the lovely, supportive people in our lives are something to be thankful for.
Through the practice of gratitude, we begin to appreciate these amazing people and their positive effects on our lives which helps us not take them for granted.
We can also use the people in our lives as a medium to practice gratitude with. Through talking about gratitude with our community, we can in turn build a stronger relationship with those people, too.
Better mental health: The “I want this, I want that” lifestyle isn’t exactly healthy for our mental health or the planet. Nor is comparing what you have to what someone else might have.
Practicing gratitude and learning to be happy with what we have can ease this stress and anxiety and improve mental health. Once we realize that we don’t have to have it all and we’re happy with what we have, so much stress and anxiety fall away.
How to make gratitude a daily habit?
So you’d like to begin practicing gratitude and being more thankful for what you have, but you don’t know where to start. There are actually many different ways to practice gratitude.
Remember there is no “correct” way or time to practice gratitude. Many people choose to weave it into their morning routine, others into their nightly routine while others prefer to take a break in the middle of the day for five minutes. It really is up to you.
Here are some ways to practice gratitude daily:
Writing lists & journaling: This is one of the most common ways as it involves just sitting and thinking about all the big and small things you’re grateful for and writing them down. Once you have a list of all the things you are grateful for it’s not that difficult to come back to these for a gentle reminder later on.
Having conversations: If writing and journaling aren’t your things, think about having conversations with like-minded people. Tell a close friend what you’re grateful for.
Meditation: There are many meditations that focus on thankfulness and appreciation of your life. You can meditate on the things you’re thankful for each day.
Prayer: Saying a prayer of gratitude can also nourish the soul.
Giving gifts or kind deeds: One of the best ways to express your gratitude for the people in your life is to do nice things for them. You’ll know what they really need or what they’ll need assistance with and doing something unexpected can not only solidify your relationship but can also be a way to express your gratitude for them.
Gratitude through mindfulness: When you live your day mindfully and consciously noticing the small things like the smell of a candle in your apartment or the taste of delicious fruit, you’ll be more inclined to be grateful for it.
Begin by noticing the small things and asking yourself which you’re the most grateful for. Many mindfulness retreats explore the practice of gratitude where you can reconnect to your inner sense of plenty, joy and happiness.
Reaping the benefits of gratitude doesn’t happen overnight. Slow and steady wins this habit race.