How to Practice Gratitude Daily and Transform Your Life

Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-occupation. – John Ortberg

Gratitude is about taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the little things that are valuable to you. Big achievements are commonly celebrated but small joys that are equally worth celebrating often go unnoticed. Little things like some good gesture by a friend or a compliment from a colleague are mostly overlooked. Something as simple as the sight of a blossoming tree, or cool breeze that brings freshness and fragrance from far away is simply taken for granted, and forget to be grateful, most of us don’t even notice these small things that cumulatively brighten our day.

Say, on a certain day, you are getting late for work and surprisingly on that very day, there’s no traffic on the otherwise crowded road and you reach in time. Isn’t that something to be thankful for? Say, at some remotely located restaurant, while you are paying the bill, your card doesn’t work, there’s no network on your phone and you realize you have not carried cash, and suddenly from somewhere, a friend appears and pays for you. Now isn’t that something to be grateful for?

Practicing gratitude daily is nothing but appreciating these seemingly small things that help you sail through the day. It is about experiencing the bliss in these moments when you could tackle a difficulty or a problem was easily solved, or when someone brought a smile to your face.

Practicing gratitude can greatly transform your life as the very act of acknowledging the good moments and good people in your life ushers positivity and enhances your sense of well-being. Studies say that feeling grateful improves sleep, immunity and mood, and can even be of help in alleviating chronic pain and preventing disease. This type of thinking triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals in the brain that are linked with happiness.

Gratitude is known to reduce the release of stress hormones. Appreciation of the good changes the way you see the world; you start noticing all the good about you and this leads to a higher self-esteem. Gratitude is also said to increase humility, help you gain self-control, increase patience, improve focus and boost mental health. If such is the importance of gratitude, we must know how to practice it in daily life.

Ways to Practice Gratitude Daily

  • Be mindful. Dwell on the little good things you experience every day; such as the sunlight, the greens, the breeze, anything that gives you joy. Live in the present, experiencing each moment; don’t waste the present moment by thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Experience every little joy as it comes your way, and feel grateful that it came.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Before going to bed, record in the journal, all the good things that happened throughout the day. Write about the incidents, things or people that gave you happiness. This way you will start feeling more appreciative of the good, and in turn feel good about yourself and your life.
  • Practicing gratitude should start from the moment you rise in the morning. Understand that many may not have woken up that day and be grateful that you are alive.
  • As you start your routine, be thankful that you have woken up fresh and have the energy to be active through the day.
  • While walking, driving, or engaging in any other activity, be grateful that you have the ability to carry out that work or activity.
  • You may not be eating at a fancy restaurant each day, but be thankful that you have the resources or capability to buy or prepare food for yourself.
  • If you are paying your house rent, or if you have your own house, be it small or big, feel thankful that you have a shelter.
  • You may own a plush car, or a humble bicycle, or commute using a bus or train; be grateful that you are able to move around.
  • If you are paying your bills and buying things for yourself, be grateful for your financial independence.
  • Be thankful that you are educated and can read and write. While watching a movie, listening to music or seeing any art form, feel blessed for having the exposure to art and being able to appreciate it.
  • Decide to thank someone or appreciate someone daily. Acknowledge the work of the milkman who gets milk to your doorstep or the person who comes to collect garbage. Thank the watchman for guarding your premises, or appreciate any community helper you meet, for his service to society.
  • Talk to or text someone you have not met in a long time and thank them for being in your life.
  • Enjoy each sip of your morning tea or coffee and savour every bite of your food. When the sun kisses your skin, the greens soothe your eyes, fragrant flowers freshen you up or you wake up to the melodic sound of a morning raga, feel grateful that you are being able to soak in the beauty around you with all your senses.
  • Take a moment to thank all those people in your life, who are showering you with love and blessings, those who have stood by you in difficult times, those who make the effort to lighten you up when you are in a bad mood, or those who are always ready to help.
  • Take a moment to remember your wishes that were fulfilled or goals that were realized. Be grateful to the universe for answering your prayers. You could maintain a prayer journal for this, wherein you jot down your wishes or dreams and keep a record of how and when they came into reality or were fulfilled.
  • Frame your mindset in such a way that you start looking at the good in everything. Many times, we complain about things we do not like but tend to ignore the silver lining around that dark cloud. There is something good or positive about everything, just that we cannot or do not see it. Learn to appreciate the good happening around you and experience gratitude.
  • Once in a while, remember how you overcame difficulties or how you emerged strong from tough times and feel proud of yourself and the people who helped you then. Feel a sense of gratefulness towards them.
  • Daily, thank the almighty, the divine or the universe for who you are and all that you have in life.

Practice gratitude daily, in ways like these, and gradually develop a ‘gratitude attitude’, so that you don’t have to deliberately sit down to thank someone, but rather, gratitude comes to you naturally and flows within you always.

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