Gratefulness is something we're introduced to at a young age that's meant to help us better appreciate the good things about our lives. It's something that's simple on its surface but also something that can be lost if it's not practiced, leading us to become jaded and cold.
It's coming to that time of year when gratefulness is really pushed on us, so how do we learn to be grateful again? How do we bring this concept back into our routine, and why should we?
One thing that can prevent us from being truly grateful for what we have is our limiting beliefs. These are beliefs that we have about ourselves that leave us feeling like we're lesser than or incapable of living the life we desire.
It's possible to free yourself from these beliefs that keep you trapped, and all it takes is a few minutes to get started. Check out this free audio program designed to help erase those thoughts about yourself and open your mind to new, better experiences!
With Thanksgiving (and Christmas, too) just around the corner, the concept of gratitude is on a lot of peoples' minds. Sure, we're taught to share something we're thankful for around the dinner table, but that's not really practicing gratitude as a habit so much as it is performing it for a holiday.
Gratitude and thankfulness are something that should be practiced every single day throughout the whole year. It should become part of your routine and not just for the sake of others, it has other tangible benefits, too!
First, being regularly grateful can improve your mental health. It not only improves your overall mood but it's been clinically proven to help decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also help people cope with trauma, finding meaning and peace in their otherwise tumultuous lives.
Emotionally, gratitude also increases one's level of optimism, giving them a brighter outlook on life. It improves cognitive processing, keeps our minds sharp, and helps promote growth after traumatic events.
It's All Connected
There are also physical benefits to frequently practicing gratitude. It can improve your sleep, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, decrease inflammation, and help those recovering from substance abuse.
A lot of these benefits connect to one another. If you feel better emotionally, you'll feel more motivated to take care of your body. If you get better sleep, you'll have better focus throughout the day, and so on. It becomes this ever-expanding web of life improvements that all begin by saying thanks.
Changing The Routine
All of this being said, how can one actually use these benefits? How does someone properly practice gratitude in their life in a regular fashion?
The simplest way to integrate regular thankfulness is to break it down by category. First, start with gratitude towards the self. Think about yourself, all of your qualities, your strengths and weaknesses. Think of your features, both physical and personality-wise. Think of your talents, your passions, your career, your demeanor. Create a whole profile of yourself, one that's as objective as possible.
Then, from that profile, pick things that you're grateful for and genuinely thank yourself for them. For example, you can thank yourself for prioritizing your needs above those of others, for being a great cook and fueling yourself well, or for being a great listener allowing others to trust in you.
You can thank your body for being strong, for being reliable, or for simply being able to get yourself from point A to point B. It can be tough being this vulnerable and praising yourself, but it's the best way to introduce this concept into your life. Try being grateful for something about yourself every day, even if it's the same thing over and over again. Truly appreciate yourself!
The Beauty In Others
Once you feel comfortable with that, you can expand your conscious gratitude elsewhere. You can start appreciating others, being grateful for the role they play in your life and all that they provide to you. Be sure to tell them you feel this way, too. Sharing these moments will have you both feeling much better and will motivate them to be thankful for you in the future!
You can also begin to truly appreciate the moments that you have. Be they by yourself or with company, if you find yourself feeling very happy, pleasant, or joyful while doing something, take a moment to acknowledge that! Celebrating moments like this reminds us of the highlights of life.
Expressing These Feelings
You can also do more physical practices of gratefulness if you need more motivation to consciously think of moments like this. You can keep a gratitude journal, where you write about and expand on all of the things you're grateful for. Instead of just telling a friend that you appreciate them, you could also write them a letter, creating a love-filled, physical receipt of your gratitude.
Exercises like meditation, yoga, volunteer work, and artistic expression will all help you become more in touch with what gratitude truly feels like in your mind, heart, and soul.
How Life Looks
The thing about gratitude as a whole is that is truly subjective. Something you may be very grateful for could be someone else's worst nightmare! For example, someone may be grateful for the time they get to spend alone and in peace, while you're more grateful for the times you spend out in a huge crowd connecting with society.
There's no right or wrong thing to be thankful for, and the benefits of expressing it will remain the same no matter what you list. There's no better time to start appreciating the life you have than right now.
Appreciating anything in life can be tough when your mind is stuck in a dark fog of self-conscious beliefs. Thoughts like that can seriously limit your potential, smothering your spark and keeping you from living to the fullest.
The time to rid yourself of beliefs like these is now, and all it takes is a few minutes to get started. Click here to try this free audio program that's made to help people overcome their most limiting beliefs and live their dream lives!