How to Practice Gratitude? Be grateful; practice gratitude. This is a simple and effective way to reconsider one’s life and actions positively and significantly increase one’s life satisfaction and well-being.
Lack of self-confidence generally leads to a negative, pessimistic and defeatist attitude. Rather than attacking this lack of confidence head-on, it might be a good idea to tackle this negative attitude first.
Why? Well, for 2 main reasons:
- The first is that it is simpler and easier to change a negative attitude into a positive one than to gain greater self-confidence ;
- The second is that a positive attitude is a great help in regaining self-confidence.
The first step towards such a positive attitude is gratitude, that is, being grateful for what we have and do and the events that happen to us.
Generally speaking, what is harmful (lousy news, dire circumstances, failures, etc.) affects us more than what is positive. Human nature is like that, and if, in addition, we add a negative attitude and state of mind conducive to cultivating them.
Gratitude, on the other hand, allows you to cultivate a positive attitude. Its strength comes from the fact that it is at the crossroads between the external world (others, events, the result of our actions, etc.) and our inner world (perception, feelings, etc.).
It allows us to dictate how we interpret and process external circumstances rather than being influenced by them.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Cicero called gratitude the mother of all virtues.
We don’t know if gratitude deserves such status. But recent scientific discoveries tend to show that it is of primary importance for increased life satisfaction.
Until the 1990s, psychology tended to deal primarily with psychological disorders. Psychology could explain to us how to be less unhappy (or sick) but not how to be happier.
Then, under the impetus of several practitioners, including Doctor Martin Seligman and the field of psychology investigation evolved and turned towards positive psychology. Science was finally getting down to explaining to us how to be happy!
And so?… What does research tell us?
To talk more specifically about gratitude, it is recognized as having 5 significant benefits:
- Increased happiness: the active practice of gratitude can increase the feeling of happiness by 25% (if that measures);
- Lasting happiness: the busy practice of gratitude for 3 weeks has noticeable effects for a few months (up to 6 );
- Reduced materialism: material possessions are less critical, less sought after and less significant to your success;
- Increased sociability: being grateful makes you more empathetic, helpful and willing to be available to others;
- Better health: cultivating gratitude reduces stress, improves sleep quality, increases the ability to concentrate, etc.
Moreover, a more active and nourishing social life is a source of increased well-being and satisfaction.
In light of all of this, there is no doubt that you should embark on the path of gratitude.
Keep a gratitude journal
The easiest way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal.
The advice often given is to fill in such a diary every day. But scientific research shows us that you don’t need to be so diligent: doing this 4 times a week is enough to feel the first effects.
Conversely, it is crucial to be consistent over time: doing this 3 weeks in a row is necessary. And since 3 weeks seems to be a minimum to get into a habit, likely, you will take the fold.
For example, you can do this exercise:
- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to bring out the positive in pairs of days;
- on Sunday to get high and do the same for the past week or month.
Another organization could be:
- Tuesday and Thursday to bring out the positive in pairs of days;
- on Friday to bring out the positive of the past day and then of the week (vocational orientation);
- On Sunday, bring out the positive of the weekend (private orientation), gain height and evaluate your week as a whole.
Or just 1 day out of 2. Regardless of the week, weekend or month.
Try and adopt the pace that suits you best.
How to practice gratitude well
A few final tips to practice gratitude.
1. Prioritize quality over quantity
There is no need to list dozens of items. It’s better to be listless, but make sure you’re grateful and explain why you’re thankful and why it’s meaningful and important to you. Indirectly, it also allows you to know yourself better and understand what is important to you.
2. Prioritize people
This resonates with sociability.
Exercise will be even more beneficial if you consider the people around you. It’s as much about being grateful for the interactions with those around you (how you’ve helped them or how they’ve helped you) as it is for anything positive that may happen to them. For example, you may be grateful that your partner got a promotion when you didn’t directly benefit from it and had nothing to do with it. But you are happy for them.
3. Remember surprises
Don’t forget surprises and all unexpected events. They are all the more critical as they are associated with positive and happy emotions. They, therefore, have a significant effect on your well-being, and remembering them is a great way to make their effect last.
4. Don’t get addicted
This echoes the first tip.
Do not confuse “being grateful for” with “seeing the positive everywhere”. Looking for the positive is good: it allows you not to feel sorry for a long time. For example, after a fall, you can congratulate yourself for only having a fracture because it could have been much worse. But there’s nothing to be overly grateful for: a fracture is a fracture, and it is the disabling and painful point. Of course, if it affects your child, it’s on a whole other level.
To take a more trivial example, there is nothing to be grateful for not having to go shopping tonight.
The effects of regular and prolonged practice of gratitude have beneficial effects on your level of well-being and life satisfaction, as well as on your health.
Get into the habit to practice gratitude, every other day at least, of writing down the events of your days for which you are most grateful. Your life will be more satisfying.