Learn what true gratitude means, how its endless benefits improve health and happiness, and discover simple, proven ways to make gratitude a daily habit.
Most of us have been taught to say “thank you” and be polite from a young age. But gratitude goes deeper than just being polite. It has many benefits for our health and happiness. This article will explain what gratitude really means, why it’s so powerful, and how to make it a daily habit.
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude means being thankful and appreciating the good things in your life. It is more than just saying “thank you.” It is a feeling inside you that makes you want to express thanks and feel positivity.
Gratitude helps you feel happier, healthier, and more satisfied with your life. Scientific studies have proven many benefits of gratitude. It can lower stress, help you sleep better, strengthen relationships, and even boost your immune system.
Gratitude reminds you of the positive things around you. It shifts your focus away from negative thoughts. Practicing gratitude trains your brain to scan for the blessings in your life instead of dwelling on problems or complaints.
Why Make Gratitude A Habit?
Making gratitude a habit has endless benefits. But for many people, gratitude does not come naturally. Our brains are wired to focus more on problems and negative things. That kept early humans safe from threats. But in modern life, that negativity bias causes unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Practicing gratitude rewires your brain over time. By scanning for positive things to appreciate, gratitude becomes more automatic. Regular gratitude physically changes connections in your brain to boost positivity, contentment, and resilience.
Gratitude also protects you from toxic negativity like resentment, entitlement, or constantly complaining. These mindsets trap you in negativity and prevent you from recognizing all the good around you. A gratitude habit balances out that blindness to blessings.
Simple Ways To Cultivate Gratitude
Making gratitude a habit takes effort at first. But certain tools and techniques can help rewire your brain faster. Here are simple, proven ways to cultivate gratitude daily:
Keep a gratitude journal – Writing down at least one thing you are grateful for every day is very powerful. Maintain a list you can refer back to on days you feel less positive.
Thank someone – Verbally expressing gratitude directly to another person strengthens your gratitude habit faster. Especially thank people you take for granted.
Savor good moments – Take time to appreciate positive everyday moments mindfully with all your senses. Savoring multiplies the positive impact on your brain.
Give back – Volunteer work or other acts of service flood your system with gratitude. Giving back reminds you how much you have to be grateful for.
Practice gratitude affirmations – Repeating phrases like “I am thankful for…” rewires your self-talk over time to automatically scan for blessings.
Overcoming Resistance to Gratitude
For some people, gratitude seems very difficult. Your brain resists focusing on positive things. Or you feel like your life lacks things to be grateful for. Here are some common roadblocks and how to overcome them:
Not Used to Expressing Gratitude: For people who rarely say “thank you,” gratitude feels awkward and embarrassing at first. Remind yourself there are no “right words.” Gratitude is the feeling behind it. Keep expressions simple and sincere. It will start to feel natural very soon.
Life Is Too Stressful: When life feels overwhelmingly stressful or negative, it’s hard to find blessings. But that is exactly when you need a gratitude practice the most. Start small by picking just one positive thing, no matter how tiny. Write it down or share it out loud. Doing this resets your mindset bit by bit.
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Fear of Losing Blessings: Some people limit gratitude out of fear that appreciating what they have will make them lose it. This scarcity mindset comes from false beliefs. Appreciating your blessings actually attracts more positive experiences, not less. Gratitude reminds you of how valuable your gifts are.
Already Have It All: People who are very comfortable and successful can have entitlement issues. It may seem like there is nothing left to appreciate. But there are always new blessings to discover. Broaden your view to notice tiny moments or see blessings from a fresh perspective.
Make Gratitude Effortless: Gratitude takes some work before it becomes effortless. But the more you practice, the more automatic gratitude habits become. After a month or two of consistent effort, you’ll notice right away when you forget your gratitude practice. Soon your mind will start scanning for and focusing on positive things without any prompting.
Make gratitude a daily priority and it will transform your life in amazing ways!
Michelle D. Garrett is the founder of Divas With A Purpose.
She focuses on sharing resources for being purposely productive; setting personal and professional goals and achieving them through daily action; and successfully running a business while focusing on your mental health. Michelle is a full-time entrepreneur who specializes in teaching female entrepreneurs how to show up consistently in their business – online and off.