Practicing gratitude helps us to appreciate all the good in our lives. It brings about a shift in mindset from focusing on what we don’t have to focusing on what we do have. For someone with the mindset of what’s not there, it wouldn’t matter if they had the world—they would be too busy focusing on not having the moon to appreciate it.
Beyond simply allowing us to appreciate what we have, studies have shown that people who practice gratitude experience many benefits including stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, feeling happier, more optimistic, and being more outgoing in social situations among others.
It doesn’t take much to access gratitude, you can do it anywhere. Below are five quick and easy exercises you can use to begin making gratitude part of your life today.
I Spy What do you currently see? The sky, trees, architecture, cars? Where do you find beauty? Maybe it is rolling clouds, blooming flowers or a beautiful building. Experience that sight and allow yourself to fully appreciate the beauty that surrounds you in this world.
Take an internal inventory scan through your body and count the things you are grateful for. Maybe it is your ability to hear, your lungs which allow you to breathe, or your feet and toes which help you stand and balance.
Show appreciation When you tell someone thank you, mean it. It is easy to say “thanks” as a habit or reflex. Maybe your coworker stops on his way in to pick you up a latte and you say thanks without giving it a second thought. When you think about it though, that coworker cared enough about you to take the extra time and effort to bring you a gift. So when you say “thank you,” take a moment to reflect on being grateful for what that person did for you.
Give props Who in your life are you grateful for? Which relationships do you value and what do they bring into your life? Think of all the people in your life that make your day just a bit more special. They could be family, friends or acquaintances.
Write it down Write down what you are grateful for. The act of writing something down makes it feel more real. Writing leaves a record for you to come back to on days when you are having a harder time accessing gratitude.