Skip to content

3 Ways to Become a More Grateful Person

3 Steps to Becoming More Grateful

Thanksgiving reminds us to pause and give thanks for the gifts in our lives. That said, we shouldn't reserve gratitude for one day a year. Here are the many benefits that come with staying grateful, along with some powerful ways you can cultivate gratitude.

Why It Matters

Everyone experiences adversity at some point in their lives. When setbacks occur, it's easy to get lost in disappointment and self-pity. Unfortunately, this sort of negativity usually makes us feel even worse. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that people experience powerful psychological benefits when they turn their attention toward gratitude . Some of the scientifically proven benefits include:

  • Healthier, happier relationships

  • Improved physical health

  • Reduced aggression and enhanced empathy

  • Better sleep

  • Improved self-esteem

  • Increased resiliency

With so many reasons to be grateful, it seems like embracing gratitude should be a no-brainer. In reality, however, many people struggle to appreciate the gifts in their lives, no matter how big or how small. If this sounds like you, consider the following strategies for leveraging gratitude to improve your life.

  1. Start a gratitude journal. Take some time to write about the gifts in your life. One good way to do this is to establish a bedtime routine, where you jot down five good things that happened during the day. It might be a major promotion, or it could simply be a beautiful sunset. You may find yourself writing the same things day after day. That's perfectly ok. Just make sure to stick to the habit. In time, you will start looking for positive things throughout the day, which you can journal about later. This can help cultivate a more positive outlook that can alter the way you experience life

  1. Say thank you. Research suggests that we experience positive neural activity when we express gratitude . Experts believe this has something to do with evolutionary qualities that developed to promote mutually beneficial social behavior. Whatever its origins, you can leverage this characteristic to reduce depression, increase well-being and cultivate a more positive attitude. Think of someone who helped you in the past and write a thank you letter or email. You should also take every opportunity to say "thank you," even for the simplest acts of kindness.

  1. Come to your senses. Countless studies have linked mindfulness to increased well-being and reduced anxiety. Other research has shown that, by engaging in mindful activity, we can actually change brain function and structure to promote healthier cognition. So, how do you stay mindful? In essence, mindfulness means being mentally present in the "now." This means not thinking about the future or the past. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on your senses. It might mean smelling the fragrant air while taking a walk. It might also mean feeling the ground beneath your feet. It could also mean taking the time to focus on the taste of your food, instead of scarfing everything down while you watch TV.

The Importance of Practice

Just like everything in life, it can take time to cultivate gratitude. At first, things may feel forced or unnatural. You might feel discouraged or decide that you really don't have much to be grateful for. When these feelings come, it's important to maintain your gratitude rituals, so they will have an opportunity to work. In time, you will begin to notice that you have a more positive outlook that will open the door to a happier, healthier life.

Our caring therapists are here to help you cultivate a more positive outlook. Contact us today!