Having gratitude every day, is an important part of having a fulfilling life. Even if you hit a snag (which happens to us all) gratitude is the tool that helps you stay grounded and focused.
Researchers have found over and over that people who live with gratitude, experience a better sense of well-being. Gratitude improves relationships, makes people more productive, and increases in their levels of happiness.
While there’s no mistaking that gratitude is a powerful mindfulness tool, it’s not always easy for everyone. Berkeley suggests that difficulty in feeling gratitude “may be rooted in our brains, genes, and even our personalities.” But they also say anyone can develop a life and mindset of gratitude if they practice.
Here are some more things you can do to practice living in gratitude.
Pay Attention To Your Body
Our bodies respond to our thoughts.
If you’re scared, your heart rate increases, your pupils dilate, and your palms sweat.
Similarly, if you are feeling gratitude, you feel a greater sense of happiness and your body relaxes more. Gratitude causes the brain to release dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters – the chemicals in our brains that make us feel good.
If you find yourself feeling more tense or impatient than usual, it could be that you’ve lost your connection to gratitude. Take a few moments to practice mindful breathing and reconnect to the gratitude you have for the beautiful things in your life.
Respond, Don’t React
Difficult things happen and if we aren’t mindful, these challenges can cause conflict within us. When you have gratitude in your heart, it changes your perspective when you are presented with challenges.
When you’re faced with a challenging situation, practice mindfulness so you can respond thoughtfully instead of reacting.
Ask yourself: “What is the lesson here for me?” or “What is my opportunity here?” These thoughts create a sense of gratitude for the opportunities and lessons that life sometimes gives us. The result: You respond thoughtfully instead of reacting irrationally.
Talk To Someone
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are trying to accomplish, that we forget the reasons why we started doing it to begin with! This can lead to frustration and burnout.
When you start to feel a sense of imbalance, find a trusted friend, colleague, partner, or family member who can remind you of the things that matter most to you. Talking through challenges helps you put things into perspective so you can find the positives and apply them to your mindset.
I would be remiss to not mention how the current COVID-19 pandemic might make gratitude a difficult concept. Many people are experiencing financial, emotional, and mental difficulties as we maneuver through this unprecedented time.
However, there are so many opportunities for us to grow, despite the uncertainty we find ourselves in, and I invite you to reach out if you want to start focusing on these opportunities and start using gratitude to re-balance and refocus.
Through gratitude, we change our lives.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein