Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It has been said that gratitude is directly correlated to one’s happiness, and research has now proven this link. In his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Dr. Robert Emmons demonstrates that gratitude can increase one’s happiness by as much as 25 percent, based on his research involving thousands of people around the world.
Developing the practice of gratitude improves our sense of well-being from the inside out. But how exactly can we work on cultivating an “attitude of gratitude”? Here are a few ideas.
- Each day, write down at least one thing you are thankful for. You may choose to do this by writing in a gratitude journal or on note cards that you can hang around your home or office as reminders of all you are thankful for. Over time, writing down what you are grateful for can make you more optimistic because you are consciously finding the positivity in your life and giving less power to negativity.
- Express gratitude to others. Let others in your life know that you’re starting a practice of gratitude and share with them your observations. Sharing your appreciation is a way to develop friendships and establish more meaningful connections with those around you. Expressing gratitude helps others feel like they matter, which is a basic need that we all have.
- Reverse negativity. If you find yourself with a negative thought about someone or something, make a conscious decision to turn the thought on itself by asking how you can look at the situation through a more positive lens. For example, if your boss passes you over for a promotion, consider how this could open the door to a better job opportunity in the future.
- Keep it simple. At times, it may be hard to feel grateful, such as during a health challenge or with the loss of a loved one. Focus on being grateful for the simple things in life, such as beautiful flowers, a pretty sunset or a good meal.
By practicing these and other gratitude habits, you strengthen your ability to maintain a positive mindset and develop strong relationships. When challenges do come, you will know there is still much to be optimistic about and grateful for.
Get Support at Sound Mind Therapy
Do you need help coping with feelings of anger or cultivating gratitude? If you live in Creve Coeur, St. Charles or another St. Louis, MO, suburb, a therapist at Sound Mind Therapy is ready to support, educate and empower you! To schedule an individual counseling appointment, call us at (314) 499-9144 or complete our online appointment request.