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Practice Gratitude

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

We're often told to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

While it can be hard to avoid self-pity entirely, an excellent trick to gain strength is to exchange self-pity for gratitude. Whether you choose to write a few sentences in a gratitude journal or give yourself a moment to silently acknowledge all that you have, giving thanks can transform your life.

6 Benefits of Having an "Attitude of Gratitude."

1. Develops new relationships.

  • Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or send a thank-you note to that person who helped you the other day, acknowledging other people’s contributions can open new opportunities.

2. Enhances physical health.

  • Those who are grateful experience fewer illnesses and report feeling healthier than other people. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups, which contributes to further longevity.

3. Improves psychological health.

  • A multitude of toxic emotions can be reduced by gratitude, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Gratitude is essential for well-being and dramatically increases happiness and decreases depression.

4. Increases empathy and reduces aggression.

  • Grateful personalities are more likely to create positive social connections and less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. Gratitude helps to develop more sensitivity and empathy toward others, lessening the desire to seek revenge.

5. Improves self-esteem.

  • Gratitude increases the essential components of self-worth and reduces social comparisons. Instead of becoming resentful toward others who have more money or better jobs—a significant factor in negative self-beliefs— a grateful attitude allows you to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.

6. Builds mental strength.

  • Gratitude not only reduces stress but also plays a significant role in overcoming trauma. Individuals with higher levels of gratitude experience lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and demonstrate elevated resilience in stressful situations. Acknowledging all that you have to be thankful for —especially during the worst of seasons—cultivates strength.

Exercises To Practice Gratitude

These are simple exercises that can fill you with a sense of purpose, appreciation, and happiness. And it only takes a few minutes to complete.

  • Gratitude Journal: Written words help to organize what's in our minds and brings clarity to what we're thinking. Account for your daily blessings in a notebook and keep a diary of gratitude. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.

  • 200 Motives of Gratitude: Writing things that you're thankful for in your life may seem complicated, but you might be surprised at how many reasons we have to be grateful in our lives. Do you have a place to sleep, clean water to drink, food to eat? Think of all the things you can be grateful for.

  • Jar of Gratitude: Grab an empty glass container and each day when you get home, write a reason why you were grateful and place it inside. They can be small or big things. The goal is to write something every day so that at the end of the year, you'll have 365 reasons to smile.

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.

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