22 ways to be grateful…and to change your life

22 ways to be grateful…and to change your life

by Marelisa from DaringToLiveFully 

Did you know that studies show that practicing gratitude can increase your happiness levels by about 25 percent? This fact was reported by Robert Emmons, PhD–one of the world’s foremost experts on gratitude– in his book, “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”.

So, how can you bring more gratitude into your life? One way is by practicing gratitude exercises. I created a list of 22 gratitude exercises that will help you to bring more thankfulness, appreciation, and gratefulness to your life. Read through the list, choose a few that appeal to you, and get started increasing your gratitude and boosting your levels of happiness.

1. Morning Coffee Gratitude. As I’ve written before, one of the best ways to start your day off right is to spend a few minutes thinking of all the things that you’re grateful for. If you’re worried about finding the time to do this, or finding a way to remember to give thanks each morning, tie your morning gratitude session to your morning cup of coffee.

While you’re having your first cup of coffee, sit back and think of the things that you’re thankful for. You can even start out by feeling gratitude for the following:

The warmth of the coffee mug you’re holding;

The aroma of the coffee;

That first sip of coffee;

The beautiful morning;

The beginning of a new day full of promise;

The quiet just before the day officially starts.

2. Grace Before Meals. Giving thanks before each meal recognizes all of the people whose hard work was necessary for you to have food on your table–everyone from the farmer who grew the food, the grocery store clerks who stocked the shelves at your local grocery store, and the person who cooked the meal. It’s a moment to pause and be mindful, as well as feel blessed that you have all of the food and nourishment that you need.

But what if you’re not religious? Then say a Secular Grace. Here’s one example:

“For the meal we are about to eat,

for those that made it possible,

and for those with whom we are about to share it,

we are thankful.”

You can even write your own.

3. Things You Take For Granted. Imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one.

4. Put Things in Perspective. Obviously, things won’t always go your way. However, gratitude isn’t an emotion that is reserved for those moments when you get what you want. When things go wrong you can use the power of gratitude to release some of the negative emotions that you may be feeling due to the failure or setback that you just experienced.

After a negative event put things in perspective by remembering that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. When faced with adversity, ask yourself the following questions:

“What’s good about this?”

“What can I learn from this?”

“How can I benefit from this?”

“Is there something about this situation that I can be grateful for?”

5. Gratitude Journal. The practice of keeping a gratitude journal was made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy”. Before going to bed each night, write a list of five things about that day for which you’re grateful. Some days you’ll have exciting things to write down, and some days you’ll be writing down simple joys. Here’s a quote from “Simple Abundance”:

“As the months pass and you fill your journal with blessings, an inner shift in your reality will occur. Soon you will be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feelings.”

6. Gratitude Letter. Sit down and write a letter to someone who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. This can be a teacher or a mentor from your past, a grandparent, or anyone else who helped you in some way. The letter doesn’t have to be long, but make sure that you’re specific about what the person did and how it affected you.

7. Gratitude Visit. Some experts recommend that you take the gratitude letter a step further: instead of mailing the letter, visit the person to whom the letter is addressed and read them the letter in person.

…keep reading the full list of gratitude exercises HERE