Creating an attitude of gratitude and living out that mantra is essential to your health and happiness — it’s also difficult to do. The world is a crazy place, and your life (like everyone else’s) has its ups and downs. So, you should do your best to have an attitude of gratitude and keep it up as much as you can.
The tips below will help you undertake a lifestyle change that can dramatically impact your outlook on life, your stress levels, and the people around you. You don’t need to do much—just be open to the idea that gratitude can change your life.
Do You Keep a Journal?
Keeping a journal is one of the most practical, effective, and simple things anyone can do. It is also one of the hardest things to keep up with. You don’t need to be like Mr. Belvedere — writing in your journal every night after Bob Uecker drives you crazy during the day. Take just a moment each day to write down something you are grateful for.
Don’t be afraid to appreciate everything from the world around you. This might sound simplistic, but think of all the things you appreciate about your day:
- That pleasant customer service associate really helped you on your phone call
- Your coworker gave you a nice compliment
- You felt accomplished at the end of the day
- You felt energized when you woke up
- Your coffee was amazing this morning
- The air smelled fresh this morning
Be honest with yourself, especially when you might be going through a rough patch. The habit of keeping a gratitude journal is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the same way that you start to notice cars just like yours everywhere after you buy it, you will begin to see things you are grateful for everywhere.
Where is Your Journal?
Keep your journal in a notebook, on your phone, on your computer, or you can download an app. The journal needs to be accessible; read it again in the future, use it to track your life and attitude of gratitude. You never want to lose a record of all the beautiful things that have gone on in your life. Plus, you might start to put together the pieces as your life improves.
- Didn’t get that job?
- Went to another company?
- Met your best friend?
- Took that vacation with them and met your spouse?
Sometimes it’s fun to go back and put together the pieces of what we like to call “the great cosmic puzzle.”
What Are the Possibilities?
You have to start considering the possibilities in your life instead of assuming the worst. While anxiety makes it difficult to think positively all the time — and you should not be expected to do so — you must take ownership of what’s going on in your life.
Do you have the potential for good things in the next week, month, year, five years? Look forward to something, anticipate the positive, and allow goodness to multiply. If you have a nice lunch with a friend, be grateful for that and write it in your journal. At the same time, ask them when you can meet for lunch again. The possibility of a great friendship is there — you just have to do something about and be grateful for it.
Be Grateful for the Small Things
Everyone wants good things to happen right now. Of course, that’s how we are. Everyone can admit to being impatient at one time or another, but you should try exuding patience in your journal. Take every small thing as a victory. You got a good comment from your boss today at work.
Write it in your journal.
Use that as fuel to find another good comment, to raise the standard of your work, and grow. No, one good comment from your boss doesn’t equal a promotion. However, being on the good side of your boss will make life easier in the office. You might even have the opportunity to turn back to that good comment during the workday.
Be grateful that a nice, new neighbor moved in. Be grateful that you’ve reconnected with a long-lost friend or family member. These situations don’t turn into whirlwind rainbows of joy overnight, but they are a good start.
Enjoy the beginnings — the possibilities.
Take a Step Back
Take a step back and get some perspective. A quote from one of my favorite TV shows tells a detective to look “at the outskirts of the case.”
Step back and look at the outskirts of your anxiety, of your life. It might be time to give up a bad habit, or you might realize a friendship or relationship is toxic.
However, you cannot gain perspective on your own. You need grateful people around you who can help you. Yes, they are likely in your journal because you are grateful for them, but you should also seek their counsel when you need guidance.
When you do this, you might realize that you have more to be grateful for than you realize. Even in the midst of a bad situation, it’s easier to see the silver lining in the clouds when you step back and really look at the situation for what it is — and choose to be grateful about anything good that came out of it.
Above all else, you need to stay committed to developing and maintaining an attitude of gratitude. Keep your journal, surround yourself with good people, and revel in the possibilities, all the little victories in your life.