In a world as unpredictable and crazy as ours, it’s easy to forget to be grateful. We go about living our lives the same way each day but did you know that actively practising the art of gratitude can change your life?
Actively expressing gratitude has been proven to improve levels of anxiety, depression, stress and it changes your way of thinking where you no longer dwell on the negative but start to focus on the good in your life. However, having an attitude of gratitude is more than just saying “thank you”.
What is the art of gratitude?
The art of gratitude goes hand in hand with living a more mindful life. When you focus on being mindful, you are trying to be more present in all that you do. By being more present, you slow down your daily routine and you’re more cognizant of your life and the people around you.
When you practise the art of gratitude, you also slow down and focus on the good in your life and the good in the people you surround yourself with.
The art of gratitude, at its core, is simply living a happy and fulfilling life. It’s where you regularly take the time to be thankful for all that you have, to thank those around you and share in the abundance of life. The more you do this, the more good you start to attract and by just practising gratitude, you are planting the first seed of positivity.
How to practise the art of gratitude
This isn’t a difficult task. There are no major changes you need to make. The main thing is to slow your day down and focus on what you have to be thankful for. You can do this by;
Create a gratitude journal, nothing fancy, a notebook will do just fine.
Every morning or every evening, hide your phone away for a little while and sit in a calm and happy space (my favourite is outside on the patio with a cup of Rooibos tea). Now take the time to reflect on your life, the people in it, your achievements and write down a list of things to be grateful for.
Some examples could be; your furry companion, your health, the job you have or even that you made it out of bed that day (this is a very important one if you’re going through a tough time).
You can list as many things as you want to but we recommend at least listing 3-5.
Saying thank you
This sounds obvious but have you ever held a door open for someone or let them into your lane during heavy traffic and not been thanked? It’s not the best feeling.
Now you don’t have to throw a parade for every person that does something nice but simply acknowledging that someone helped you goes a very long way. Take the time to actively thank those who have made your day a little easier.
If you have a friend or family member who has been a ray of sunshine in your life recently, send them some flowers or even a text letting them know that they’re appreciated.
Making others feel good has a direct response to how you feel.
Having daily affirmations
You can use your gratitude journal or simply do this in front of the mirror but as much as you’re grateful for all that you have, you need to be equally grateful for all that you are.
Some self-love can drastically change your perceptions and feelings. Be thankful that you are here, that you are an incredible person, a good friend and someone who is valued.
In the same way that you’d take some time to write in your journal what you’re grateful for, take the time to pause and be grateful that you are you.
Similar to being mindful, meditation and focusing on your breathing is a great way to practise being grateful.
During mindful meditation, you are focused on the present moment without any judgement and often during this time while you focus on your breathing you think of a word or a phrase like peace or happiness. With the art of gratitude though, you can focus on what you are grateful for and let those beautiful thoughts manifest in your subconscious.
Take a look at how to master meditation here.
How planting positivity can change your life
Planting seeds of positivity and letting them flourish into multiple facets of gratitude can transform your life in a variety of ways. Listed below are some of those ways;
Gratitude shifts your focus
You begin to see the positive rather than the negative and as you begin to master the art of gratitude, the negative in your life won’t have a great hold over you and you will navigate your way through it better.
Being grateful makes you feel happier
The more grateful you are, the more you start to realise how good your life actually is.
You’ll be less materialistic
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have the drive to acquire all that you want in life but you won’t be as focused on getting the next best thing. You’ll be satisfied and grateful for what you have been blessed with.
You’ll be less likely to experience burnout
As you use mindfulness and the art of gratitude to navigate your way through life, you’ll begin to live a slower-paced life that will feel more manageable. You’ll begin to prioritise important tasks and work through them in a much calmer manner.
You’ll improve your physical health
You’ll start to sleep better and feel more in tune with your body and its needs, encouraging you to be more physically active (through yoga, going for walks etc) and have more time to focus on your and your needs.
You’ll begin to develop patience, humility and wisdom
As you slow down and focus on the good in your life, you’ll begin to feel more at peace and more inclined to enjoy the smaller things in life and all it has to offer.
The art of gratitude is another way of practicing self-love and getting more out of this life. Life gets busy and with all that we have faced during the pandemic, it is so important to actively seek the sprouts of positivity all around you.