We all have unique things to be thankful for and learning how to practice gratitude brings us to a happier state of mind every day.
Once you take in these helpful ideas make sure to answer this question in the comments… What are you grateful for today?
Have you ever found yourself saying, I’ll be happy when I have this or when that happens?
I know I have.
The harsh reality is what most of us think will make us happy will not.
Maybe it will for a fleeting moment, but it won’t last long. Learning to be grateful for what you have will show you a new route to happiness.
The Happiness Myth
One of the biggest myths about happiness is material things and money will make you happier.
If you’re not happy now or taking steps to be happier you will feel the same in five years as you do now regardless of your financial situation.
The primary reason for this is there is always more to be had. Even a billionaire has limits on what they can spend.
A study was done on this. In the study they measured the happiness levels of lottery winners and recent victims of catastrophic accidents, who were now paraplegic or quadriplegic.
Immediately after the life-changing events, their levels of happiness were obviously very different.
The lottery winners were ecstatic, and the paraplegics were devastated.
But fast forward a while, the lottery winners still had lots of money and the paraplegics still hadn’t regained use of their limbs but their levels of happiness had returned to the levels they were at before their life-changing events.
This is often referred to as a happiness set point where our happiness levels fluctuate from day to day around this set point.
When something amazing or devastating happens we may move away from this set point temporarily but when we become accustomed to the life changes we revert back to our set point.
If material things and money won’t make us happy, what will?
There are many things you can do to maintain a consistent feeling of happiness and one of them is being grateful for what you have.
“When you are grateful, fear disappears, and abundance appears” – Tony Robbins
Benefits of Gratitude
I am grateful for everything I have and in this post 13 Ways to be Grateful for What You Have I will show you how you can be too so you can reap benefits such as these;
- Increasing physical health
- Improving mental health
- Better sleep
- Enhancing empathy
- Reducing feelings of anger
- Feeling happier every day
- Enhancing relationships
- Deeper friendships
Being thankful for what you have when everything is going great is easy, but I feel sure you are wondering how to be grateful in hard times.
For it to work for you, it must be easy, if not you are unlikely to succeed so here are my simple ways to be grateful.
These methods will show you how to practice gratitude the right way for the biggest impact in your life.
13 Ways to be Grateful for What You Have
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1. Ask Yourself, What are you Grateful for Today?
Sometimes when you are in a bad mood and you ask yourself, “what am I grateful for”, your first response may go something like this, “Nothing, my life is a mess, I have absolutely nothing to be grateful for”.
When this happens reframe the question.
“If I could be grateful for something, anything, what would it be”.
This puts your mind in a different state and practically forces you to come up with something.If you could be grateful for something, anything, what would it be? #gratitude #thankful Click To Tweet
2. Gratitude Journaling
This is something I do every weekday.
In my day job, I work nine to five. At the beginning of every day, I plan what I intend to accomplish.
Before I do, I have some morning questions I ask myself in my gratitude journal.
- What am I grateful for?
- Who needs me at my best today?
- What situations might stress me out today?
- What can I do to mitigate this stress?
The most important question for me is the first one, which is “what am I grateful for”?
I ask this question every morning, 5 days a week. I try to come up with new questions every day. It can be hard after a while but it’s well worth the effort.
In my daily journal, I record all of the things I am grateful for. I typically review it once per month and transfer them to my gratitude list.
Many of them are variations of the same thing but sometimes something completely new springs to mind.
If you’d like to try more gratitude writing prompts, check out my 52-Week Gratitude Journal – with 52 thoughtful, unique writing prompts, self-reflection prompts and colouring pages.
3. Create a Daily Gratitude List
I create my gratitude list from my gratitude journal. A gratitude list and gratitude journal are distinctly different and used for different purposes.
My gratitude journal
I add a new gratitude entry every day, sometimes I can’t think of anything I haven’t put down before so I put down something I’ve already used and other times I have brand new things to be grateful for.
My gratitude list
This is a refined version of the gratitude journal. It is something that I can pull out and review periodically.
I can’t do that with the journal as there is one entry per page, my journal is mixed with other planning activities and it can often be a paragraph long because it’s a memory I don’t want to forget.
Tip: The gratitude list should be a list of items no longer than one sentence long and it fits onto a single page that is easily accessible.
- Take your gratitude list with you everywhere and review it regularly. It might be on a piece of paper or on your mobile phone.
- After reviewing it often enough many of the items will be committed to memory but you should still recite them one by one in your mind.
A great way to remember to review your gratitude list regularly is to set reminders on your phone, you can get apps designed specifically for this purpose.
This is something I picked up from Tony Robbins.
N.E.T stands for No Extra Time.
Everybody has tasks that they do on autopilot, things like cleaning your teeth, vacuuming the carpet, driving, or just waiting in a queue at the supermarket.
Yes, they may take up a small amount of mental capacity but there is a lot left for other things.
This is a time you can use to be grateful.
You are tied up doing another task so practicing gratefulness will cost you “no extra time”.
Spend this time productively and work through your gratitude list in your head.
One by one, think about the things you are grateful for. Think about what they mean to you and be grateful for them.
If you’re driving don’t do anything dangerous, eyes on the road and recite them from memory or record them on an audio track and play them in your car.
5. Schedule Your Gratitude Practice
One of the most effective ways to practice gratitude is to schedule it into your day.
As described earlier, I have tagged my gratitude ritual into my morning planning session at work.
Scheduling it by setting an alarm, adding to your calendar or tagging it onto a routine task that you perform frequently almost guarantees you will practice gratitude on a frequent basis and as a result reap bigger rewards from it.
6. Add Gratitude to Habit Stacking
A daily gratitude practice can sometimes be difficult to maintain. The main problem lies in remembering to do the practice.
This is where habit stacking can help. Habit stacking is a tool you can use to chain habits together.
For example: In the morning you already have the habit of cleaning your teeth. You can ‘stack’ being grateful to this habit and do it at the same time or immediately after.
Using cleaning your teeth as an example, every time from now on you could take the journal list you have committed to memory and recite it whilst cleaning your teeth.
If you want to find out more about habit stacking S.J.Scott has a great book on it called Habit Stacking.
7. Practice, practice, practice… Gratitude
Gratefulness can dramatically improve your mood.
The problem: When you’re in a low mood, how do you remember to be grateful to improve your mood?
An app on your phone will help with this. Every time you get a notification/buzz you turn to your mental gratitude list and start working your way through it, really feeling how grateful you are for the things on your list.
Decide how often you want to be notified… Once a day, every hour, every half hour, it’s your choice.
Just imagine for a minute what the impact of being grateful for the things you have in your life every half an hour will have on you.
8. Habitual Emotions
The average person typically experiences no more than 12 emotions on a regular basis. These emotions could be positive or negative. Do you know what yours are?
On an average day are you more likely to experience positive or negative emotions?
Would you like to experience more positive feelings every day?
If you would then this is a great exercise for you:
- Write down all the times during a typical day when you feel a negative emotion
- Try to figure out what the trigger is, what happens at the moment you start to feel the negative emotion?
- Now get creative and brainstorm at least 20 ways you can use the trigger to turn to gratefulness. It will start to get really hard after about 5. Don’t stop there, carry on until you have all 20 and start to use them every day.
9. Be Grateful for What You Have in Hard Times
When you find yourself in a tough spot or you have a specific challenge, something that is hard on you emotionally, something that is stressing you out or depressing you – ask yourself…
What is there to be grateful for in this situation?
This question has the power to pull you out of your funk and into a more empowered state of mind that will enable you to tackle the problem in hand.
Memorize this question and brainstorm times when you might use it. When you ask yourself the question, if your first response is “Nothing”, reframe it to, if I could be grateful for something in this situation, what would it be?
Learning how to be grateful in hard times can be a challenge so next time you are in a pickle ask yourself this question.
10. Surround Yourself with Grateful People
Some people seem to be happy all the time. You can normally find those that are grateful for the things they say, the way they talk about their family, friends, children, hobbies or anything for that matter.
You might hear them say things like, “having children was the best thing that ever happened to me”. Keep an eye out for these people and get to know them better.
On the other side of the coin, where possible, distance yourself from the toxic people in your life, the ones who play the victim card and feel entitled to having a great life without putting in the effort.
You can’t always get these people out of your life, but you can limit your exposure to them.
11. Visual Gratitude Reminders
This is another great way to maximize how often you practice gratitude. Place reminders everywhere.
- Stick post-it notes on your bathroom mirror
- Place reminders on pieces of paper in your underwear drawer
- Put a sticky note on the back of the food cupboard
- Place a reminder on the dashboard in your car and on your desk at work
These reminders will help to ensure your success in practicing gratitude daily.
12. Learn How to Appreciate Others & Express Your Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is not just about you being grateful for stuff in your life, it is also about you expressing your gratitude to others.
Do this often enough and it will be life-changing. By thanking others even for the small things, you become more likeable.
A side effect of this is people will want to be around you more and will do more you, thus enriching your life and giving you more things to be grateful for. It is a self-perpetuating, ever-increasing spiral of gratitude and its power should not be underestimated.
When you ask your morning question, what am I grateful for today? Also ask, who can I express my gratitude to today? Then go out and thank them. Try this for a few weeks and see how you feel.
13. Think of Unique Things To Be Thankful For
I heard a story once about a man who didn’t like being underground. I have no idea why but his attitude towards life was, “every day above ground is a great day”. This man was grateful every day for being above ground, imagine that.
If you’re stuck for ideas on what to be grateful for, I’ve included a few below to get your mental juices flowing.
- Close relationships
- Your health
- The good health of others
- Opportunities to grow
- Good experiences
- Bad experiences
- The weather
- Your hometown
- The food you have eaten today
- The home you live in
- Your ability to give to others
- The fact that you are alive today
Be Grateful for What You Have: Conclusion
Practicing gratitude has many benefits and I hope these tips will help give you effective new ways to start your practice.
I have shown you how to release your mental block when you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, plus a few different ways to make practicing gratitude a habit.
Some ways to practice that won’t take extra time from your day and the most powerful question in the world ever.
Now it is your turn, take these ideas and put them into practice today.
You don’t need to do them all, or if you want to do them all you can start with a few and come back later to remind yourself of the others.
As Tony Robbins says,
“Never leave the scene of a goal without taking at least one action to attain it”.
Before you click away from this page, do something right now to help you on your journey to being consistently more grateful for everything you have in your life.
You are not limited to what is in this post. Think outside the box and get creative.
So, tell me – What are you grateful for today?
Share in the comments below!
Darren Hodgson is a personal development blogger and mentor. He’s on a mission to help people find more joy and satisfaction in life to feel happier every day. Get his FREE guide, Happiness is a Choice and learn how to start living a happy life, approaching each day with a positive attitude. Connect with Darren on Twitter.
Related Articles to Help You Be Grateful for What You Have:
- How to Practice Daily Gratitude
- The Importance of Gratitude & How To Be Grateful in Life
- How to Appreciate the Greatness in Your Life
- 15 Inspiring Quotes to Live in the Present
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