“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
According to Shawn Anchor (author of The Happiness Advantage) “consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, less likely to be depressed, anxious or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier, either; gratitude has proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes.”
There are a variety of simple ways to add gratitude to your daily life. Here are three to get you started:
1. Write it out. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is known for writing down the three things she is grateful for each day. Winfrey’s practice began when she met and interviewed Sarah Ban Breathnach, the author of “Simple Abundance.” It’s easy to do: simply jot down 3 things that happened during the course of your day. The key is in the writing. Not only is it a visible reminder to think about your day but it’s also a record that adds to your sense of gratitude when you look back over your entries.
Your list doesn’t need to be filled with big, extravagant experiences. In my experience, beginning to notice the small moments in your day actually leads to a greater sense of gratitude. The delicious cup of coffee, the sun shining through your office window, or the smile from a stranger are all worthy of note.
2. Share it. Buddy up with a friend or relative to share your gratitude. Commit with your buddy to sending a brief text each morning with 1 or 2 things you are each grateful for. Being accountable will remind you to think about gratitude plus the sharing will create a stronger bond with your gratitude friend.
3. Say grace before meals. Take a minute to be thankful for the food you are about to eat, for the person who prepared it, and the family or friends who are sharing the meal. It doesn’t have to be a religious prayer if that doesn’t work for you–the bigger point is to create a ritual and practice around gratitude. By tying it to specific events or times during the day, you’re much more likely to reap the rewards of practicing gratitude.