How to Foster and Practice Gratitude

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Gratitude_Bird-w-quoteHoliday seasons are a wonderful time for love and appreciation, but one could be so easily wrapped up with materials and hectic activities that the individual may forget about gratitude, leading to stress, depression or other negative emotions. A key ingredient for a happy holiday season is gratitude.

Gratitude implies both the thankfulness for help from others and a conscious, habitual focus on all positive aspects of life. Counting blessings has a proven effect on the well-being of humans.

Today, I’m going to emphasize the power of gratitude, and show you top 10 ways to cultivate gratitude.

Power and Benefits generated from gratitude:

  1. Gratitude helps us appreciate the world and connect the people around us.
  2. Gratitude helps us put things or situations into new, different perspectives.
  3. Gratitude helps us refocus on what we have instead of what we lack.
  4. Gratitude helps us reduce stress, increase healing and improve well-being.
  5. Gratitude makes us happier and healthier.

Remember: “It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” So, there is no reason not to find something you are grateful for on a daily basis. Here is how you do it.

My name tagTop 10 ways to foster and practice gratitude:

  1. Do it the first thing in the morning. That’s a part of my daily routine. It can set a positive mood or mentality for the day ahead. Pray and thank God regardless of any form of religion.
  2. Use visual or decorative reminders, such as photos, famous quotes, cards or posts.
  3. Apply all your senses and appreciate what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel and touch. One of my favorite analogues is – Only when you’ve lost an arm (just one of the two) can you realize how precious it is.
  4. Count blessings with your family. This gives each member the opportunity to express appreciation for Three Blessings that he/she experienced during the day, week or month. This is also an effective way to sow gratitude seeds in your kid’s mind. I gave my parents credits for their influence on this.
  5. Write “Thank You” note (via cards, emails, or text messages) to people who helped or inspired you and those with whom you enjoyed time.
  6. Say “Thank You” more often and sincerely. Do not take any small, simple things that others do to make your life easier for granted.
  7. Keep a gratitude journal. There are plenty of tips on how to do so, but the key is to take notes regularly and consistently, if not daily.
  8. Practice meditation or yoga. These activities involve concentration on the present moment without judgment and expectation. You can also focus on what you are grateful for, e.g. pleasant sound, beautiful view, comfortable posture, etc.
  9. Replace complains with thanks. Whenever you encounter a tough situation in life, even unfairness, be thankful for the learning opportunity. Recalling difficulties in the past, you’ll discover how satisfied you are with what you have.
  10. Act on appreciation by doing someone a favor or supporting a great cause. Hey, we all know that actions are louder than words.

At the end, gratitude is strongly associated with well-being. Therefore, let’s promote wellness through fostering gratitude with simple practices regularly.

 

Image credit: By BK