Posted on September 23, 2015
It is scientifically proven and all psychologists agree—one of the best surefire methods to stay positive, experience joy and find happiness is to express gratitude on a daily basis. This practice allows us to find the good in even the most challenging days, creating an optimistic head space that enhances feelings of joy and pleasure.
Keep a gratitude journal: A good way to commit to a regular gratitude practice is to keep a gratitude journal. Reserve two minutes in your day to record 3 things you are grateful for. In order to hold yourself to the practice, it’s best to choose a consistent time, such as right before bed, when you can reflect on the day, let go of negativity and solidify feelings of gratitude and positivity. Another good time is right when you wake up, as it puts you in a positive headspace for the day ahead.
Not only does this practice help you develop an attitude of gratitude, but it also allows you to see the silver lining of each day, no matter what obstacles come your way. Practicing that search for the silver lining becomes habitual, enabling you to focus on the positive aspects of any circumstance or situation in all areas of your life. Eventually, once the journal fills up, you have a record of all the things you have to be grateful for, like a memory book of only positive reflections. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, you can flip through the book for a great pick-me-up—a reminder of your good fortune and happy thoughts.
Form a Gratitude Circle: Another way to commit to a regular gratitude practice is to form a gratitude circle with friends, family, roommates, or your Sola family from down the hall. As often as possible, ideally everyday, connect either over the phone or in person to express gratitude. Ask each person to express 3 things that they are grateful for that day. Listen to one another deeply, and allow the reflections of others to encourage even more positive thoughts in your life.
Gratitude circles not only offer a chance to reflect on the positive aspects of the day, but also strengthen bonds between friends and family. Sharing positive reflections opens doors to mutual support, encouragement and affirmations that deepen your relationships. Once the practice becomes a ritual, you will find yourself habitually experiencing positive thoughts around the members of your gratitude circle.
Beyond the expression of gratitude, allow your gratitude circle to inspire further conversation, storytelling and connection surrounding the 3 illuminated gratitude points. For example, if you are grateful for a delicious dinner, describe the dinner and why it was so gratifying—was there great company? Incredible cooking? Did you try a new dish? Because these discussions emerge from a baseline of gratitude, this ritual naturally uplifts yourself and the people you love. Let the gratitude circle naturally flow wherever the conversation chooses to go, but keep it positive, and make sure that each person’s 3 points of gratitude are expressed and received.
Express appreciation in thank you notes: It is scientifically proven that expressing gratitude to another person enhances feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. Next time a client, peer, friend or family member does something nice for you, try expressing your gratitude in writing, and feel your mood elevate. Try writing two thank you notes or emails per month to keep that mood lifted.
Because our handwriting is tied so closely to our brain, it may be better to handwrite our expressions of gratitude to let the feelings sink deep into our subconscious. Still, if you’re in a hurry, an email can do the trick. Just make sure to illuminate exactly what it is that you are grateful for, in order to solidify the salient points of appreciation. This will ensure that you fully reflect on that ways that another person has touched your life, both enhancing their feelings of affirmation, and crystallizing your feelings of gratitude.
Keep that Attitude of Gratitude…
It is often said that if you sit with any emotion long enough, it turns to gratitude. In order to see the best in life’s circumstances, we must view every experience as an opportunity for gratitude and growth. Basking in your newfound attitude of gratitude will bring positivity and happiness into every aspect of your life.