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Grateful AF: 7 Essentials For A Thankful State Of Mind

Tired of feeling unfulfilled, unmotivated, and negative? Discover the transformative power of gratitude and start your journey towards a more fulfilling life today

Young adult sitting on couch journaling

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of stress, responsibilities, and never-ending to-do lists. We often forget to appreciate the small things that make life beautiful and overlook the simple yet profound act of gratitude. I am guilty of this myself. As a full-time employee and student, I am often so consumed by work, school, and household responsibilities that I struggle to find the time to show gratitude for all that life offers. But over time, I’ve learned that gratitude is the key to unlocking happiness, contentment, and living a more fulfilling life.


Glance Ahead

1. Understanding Gratitude

2. Why Gratitude Matters

3. Making A Gratitude A Habit

 

Understanding Gratitude

Gratitude is more than just saying "thank you”. It's a mindset and a way of life. It's all about recognizing and appreciating the good things that come our way, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. For me, gratitude has not always come easy. As a struggling mother, I faced countless challenges working to provide for my children. We often had no food in the house and never enough money to pay the bills. But even through those tough times, it was gratitude that helped me turn nothing into something. Changing my perspective and learning to show gratitude for the people and things in my life helped me remain hopeful and able to see the silver lining of situations despite my circumstances.


With gratitude, we realize how fortunate we are, and we shift our focus from what we lack to what we already have.


When was the last time you took a moment to truly appreciate the good things in your life? When you think about it, gratitude is a reminder that there's always something to be thankful for, no matter how hard life might seem. And the beauty of gratitude is that it knows no boundaries. It doesn't care about the size of the gesture, and it's a universal language that everyone can speak, no matter their age, culture, or background.


Why Gratitude Matters

When gratitude is absent, negativity takes over. You're more likely to dwell on your problems and less likely to appreciate the good things. This can lead to a number of negative consequences like anxiety, depression, and lack of motivation, to name a few.


Fortunately, you have the power to change the way you see the world.

A hand journaling in nature.

Practicing gratitude is a powerful way to improve your happiness, well-being, and relationships. When you focus on the good things in your life, it helps you to see the world in a more positive light. It's like a happiness magnet – the more you focus on the good things in your life, the more good things you'll attract. Shifting your focus away from worries and anxieties can act as a reset button so that you can face challenges stress-free and with a calm and centered mindset. Focusing on the good before bed can help you relax and de-stress, leading to more restful sleep. When you express gratitude to the people in your life, it strengthens your bonds and creates deeper connections.


Making A Gratitude A Habit

Gratitude is not just for the big moments. It can be found in the simple things, too. I find appreciation in my family, having a job, being able to check things off my to-do list, and even having electricity (especially after experiencing the winter storm here in Texas). When you focus on the small things, you'll find that you have a lot to be grateful for. But like any skill, gratitude requires practice and time. However, the rewards are well worth the effort.


Here are some practical ways to express gratitude in your daily life:

  1. Start small. Don't try to change your entire outlook overnight. Start by simply noticing the good things in your life, even if they're small. For example, you could be grateful for your warm bed, a good book or movie, or the weather outside. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, there is always something to be grateful for.

  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a daily habit to write down things you are grateful for. By consistently acknowledging the positive aspects of your life, you train your mind to focus on the good around you. Start by choosing a journal, even if just a plain notebook. Set a time to journal each day, whether it’s a morning kickstart to your day or an evening reflection at bedtime. List three things and/or people you’re grateful for (a friend, your pet, something that went well, something you learned, a good meal, etc.), and reflect on why you are grateful for them.

  3. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Gratitude and mindfulness go hand in hand. When you're mindful, you're more likely to appreciate the good things in your life. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath.

  4. Get outside. When we spend time in nature, we naturally become more present and mindful of our surroundings. To cultivate gratitude when outside, disconnect from distractions by leaving electronic devices behind or on silent mode so you can be fully present in the moment. Pay attention to everything around you. Be grateful for the trees, the flowers, the animals, the sun, the rain, and the air that you breathe. So get outside - go for a walk, take a hike, or just sit in your backyard. When you slow down and connect with nature, you might be surprised at just how much you appreciate it.

  5. Express your gratitude. Don't just keep your gratitude to yourself. Let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them. There are many ways to express gratitude, and the best way to do it is to just be genuine with them. You could say "thank you" more often, write a letter or a note, give a thoughtful gift, be a good listener, or spend quality time together.

  6. Help others. Helping others is a powerful way to appreciate the good things in your own life while making a positive impact on others. When you help someone else, you're reminded of your own blessings and learn to appreciate the things you take for granted. When you help others, you create a positive chain reaction that spreads gratitude and kindness. So volunteer your time, donate to charity, or simply do something nice for a friend or loved one.

  7. Be present. One of the best ways to embrace a gratitude mindset is to be present in the moment. When you're focused on the present moment, you're more likely to appreciate the good things that are right in front of you. So take some time each day to simply be present and enjoy the moment.

 
 

woman volunteering

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can have a positive impact on our lives. It’s a choice that we can make, even when things are tough. When we express our gratitude, it can inspire others to do the same. So, what are you waiting for? Start practicing gratitude today and see how it can make a difference in your life!

 

Comment Below: If you could only keep the things and/or people you appreciate and express gratitude for daily, what would remain in your life?

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