Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that you can experience. It connects you to what is truly important in your life. It reminds you that as long as you’re breathing, everything is going to be okay. And it helps frame your day, your expectations, and your actions. Embracing gratitude can be as simple as saying thank you. Here are the top ten ways you can invite more gratitude into your life.
#1 Do Something Nice for a Stranger
Gratitude is an emotion that resonates deep inside you. It makes you feel good, hopeful, and connected to others. There are many ways to express gratitude. To embrace it and feel it on a regular basis, take actions that reinforce the emotion.
Every day, you have an opportunity to experience gratitude by doing something nice for strangers. Hold a door for someone. Offer help when you see someone struggling. Offer a friendly smile. Or if you’re feeling truly generous, pay it forward and buy the coffee for the person in line behind you.
Making this type of behavior part of your every day, changes how you interact and engage with the world. It makes you feel more grateful for your life.
#2 Keep a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals became popular about ten years ago. Oprah talked about how powerful gratitude was for her and people took note. A gratitude journal is a daily practice where you write down a number of things that you’re grateful for every day.
You can make it part of your daily routine by writing in your journal first thing in the morning as you look at your day or last thing at night. There are mobile apps for gratitude journaling or you can buy a journal. A simple college ruled notebook works too. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
#3 Reconnect With Friend or Family
Reconnecting with friends and family reminds you about the wonderful people that you have in your life. Pick up the phone and reach out to someone. They’ll be delighted to hear from you and you’ll feel great about the relationship.
#4 Wear A “No Complaining” Bracelet
Complaining is kind of the opposite of gratitude. And like gratitude, complaining can easily become a habit. You can break the habit by wearing a bracelet. The goal is to wear the bracelet on one wrist for thirty days. But if you complain, you have to move it to your other wrist and start over.
You might be surprised how difficult it can be to keep complaints to yourself for 30 whole days! By the end of the challenge, your mindset will have changed. You’ll be more grateful and able to focus on what is good in your life.
#5 Forgive Yourself or Someone Else
Forgiveness is powerful. It releases anger, hurt, and frustration from you and makes room for positive emotions like gratitude. If you find that you are still hurting or upset from something that someone else did to you, spend some time thinking about how that anger and hurt is actually hurting you. Forgive them. Say the words aloud. And if you’re angry with yourself about something, release it. You did your best at the time. Grow from the experience and move forward in gratitude.
#6 Say Thank You to Express Your Gratitude
It’s so simple and yet we forget to say these two words. Say thank you when you receive a kindness from others. The person you’re thanking will feel appreciated. You’ll feel good about yourself and them. Consistently expressing gratitude helps you to build better relationships and connections. You can also express gratitude when you receive a service by leaving a nice tip.
#7 Do Something That You Love
It’s easier to feel grateful when you have joy in your life. And of course, some days, weeks…ah okay some years are more difficult than others. However, there’s time to find joy in each day. For example, listen to your favorite song and dance or sing along at the top of your voice. Pet a puppy. Go for a walk and enjoy nature. Even in the city, you can see birds playing in the trees. If you have more than a few minutes, take a class or find a new hobby. Or pick up an old hobby that makes you smile.
#8 Send Hand Written Thank You Notes
Email is awesome but there’s something extra special about sending and receiving a hand-written note. Buy pretty stationary and notecards and get into the habit of writing people you love. Hint…parents and grandparents really like this and it helps you stay connected. And if you don’t already, say thank you for gifts and kind thoughts and efforts with a hand written thank you note.
#9 Donate Time or Money or Things
If you have some extra time or a little extra money, give to a charity or cause that is important to you. And when you clean out your closets or find that you have some extra material goods around the home, consider donating them. Gratitude is often enhanced and more readily embraced when you give to others. It serves as a reminder about all that you have.
#10 Accept and Give Compliments
Giving compliments is enjoyable. It can be fun to see someone’s face light up when you tell them you admire their hard work or that the project they’ve been working on is top quality. But it’s not always so easy to accept compliments. When someone pays you a compliment, absorb it and say thank you. Don’t negate the compliment with self-deprecating comments. Honor their gesture with genuine thanks. The same is true when you give compliments. Give them from the heart and without any intention other than to recognize someone’s skills, effort, or talents.
The great thing about gratitude is that once you invite it into your life, it is easier to make it a part of your every day. A few simple steps can help you invite more of this amazing emotion into your life. Try one of these ideas today and enjoy.