By Marc Potter
Dec 19, 2017
Want to be happier, healthier, and have better relationships? Finding ways to be grateful is one of the easiest ways to do it.
Research shows that focusing on gratitude will also allow you to be more optimistic about your future, feel stronger during hard times, make progress toward important goals, feel less stress, and even sleep better. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Meditation may help to cultivate a grateful outlook on your life. Even if you’re not experienced with formal meditation, you can do many small things to improve your attitude of gratitude. Use the following ideas to get you thinking about gratitude daily.
Gratitude helps us to balance anger and frustration with positive feelings. Meditation is a good way to help cultivate openness and thankfulness in your life. Your meditation doesn’t have to be forced or contrived. Just do what feels comfortable.
The following steps can guide your practice.
Remember, your personal mediation doesn’t need to be long to be effective. Just taking time every day to focus on your blessings can be beneficial.
Writing in a journal is a therapeutic exercise for many people. You can record in your journal things you’d never say out loud. Focusing on a gratitude journal will allow you to think about the many things you have to be grateful for.
These tips can help:
Bonus: You’ll be able to re-read your entries on hard days and remember the good in your life.
Write down a list of several people who’ve had a positive impact on your life, and write a thank-you letter to one (or more) of them. Express your gratitude for them and for how they’ve blessed your life. Often, your recipient won’t realize the blessing they have been to you. Although you may have already expressed appreciation for this person verbally, a letter is special because it can be re-read and treasured for years to come. Read or deliver the letter in person if possible.
The world is full of beautiful and fascinating things. Take time every day to pay attention to these things. Notice nature’s beauty during your morning run. Savor the smell of your dinner or lunch. Notice a beautiful sunset. Soak in the smiles of your family and friends. Laugh at the antics of children. Marvel at the engineering it took to build your car or home. As best you’re able, pay attention to these things for about 15 seconds. That’s how long it takes for something positive to enter emotional memory.
No matter where you are, when you pay attention, you can find beauty. It just takes a conscious effort to notice these things. Then you’ll be ready to feel gratitude for them, too.