You have probably read that feeling gratitude can make you happier with your life. So, what is this gratitude thing? The meaning seems to have changed somewhat over time as in the past it was more ' a feeling of being grateful to someone because they have given you something or have done something for you' ( Macmillan English Dictionary 2002). According to psychologytoday.com, gratitude is 'an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has - as opposed to a consumer driven emphasis on what one wants.' And these days many claim a person can make a conscious decision to feel more gratitude.
What are some ways to find more things to feel gratitude for? Okay, we are told to look for the positive rather than the negative but let's get a bit more specific about ways to do this.
1. Take photos Set yourself a challenge of finding something to feel gratitude for each day and take a photo of it. You can decide to do this every day for a week, a month or even a year if you want. Personally, I'd go for a week or a fortnight; a month, tops. However, if you are one of those who like to think big, then set yourself the goal of doing it for a year. There are stories of people who have done this for 365 days and felt it improved their lives.
What can you take photos of? Anything that you are grateful for, perhaps
a flower in the garden
a glass of clean water
a piece of fruit
a warm jumper
It is up to you if you print your photos or keep them on your computer.
2. Keep a gratitude journal There are proper gratitude journals for sale. My mother gave me one about ten years ago. At the front is a list of '150 Often Overlooked Blessings' including -
your boundless imagination
serenity as you pay bills
the desire for knowledge
meeting a kindred spirit
I would never have thought of any of these four things and I believe I am in the habit of feeling gratitude.
Image by Marie Vonow
You could use an exercise book or write your journal on the computer.
If you have trouble getting started, cheat by doing a Google search for 'Things to feel gratitude for'. I have just done a quick search. Yes, when thinking of things to feel gratitude for it hadn't occurred to me to list -
being alive (this one is really important)
the air I breathe (also very important)
a really comfortable chair
a perfectly ripe avocado
my favourite pair of pyjamas
and many, many more things listed.
4. Each day write one or two things you are grateful for on slips of paper. Store these in a jar, box or other container.
Courtesy of Pixabay
There will be days when you feel life really sucks and you can't come up with anything to be grateful for. Take a few slips from the jar and read them slowly while you drink a cup of tea, coffee or chocolate.
If you regularly find you can't see anything to feel gratitude for, perhaps you are suffering Depression or have another health issue which you need support for. Perhaps it is time to a talk to your doctor. Likewise if there are major issues in your life which are overwhelming you, it may be beneficial to consult the appropriate professional (depending on the issue) instead of trying to deal with everything all on your own.