How to Practice Gratitude: Guide to Happiness By Giving Thanks

Sometimes we get caught in our goal setting and our desire to keep working on those goals that we forget to stop “and smell the roses.”  Most of the times, we let our frustrations and anger control us when we encounter conflicts with others.  Animosity that’s so strong that we forget about everything else!  We tend to focus on the negative situation, dwell on it, let it empower us, while forgetting about the good things that we already have.  Whether we’re too focused on achieving greatness through our goals or someone just gets on our last nerves, let’s take a moment to pause and realize that happiness comes to those hearts filled with gratitude.  Learn how to practice gratitude, make it a part of your everyday routine, and you’ll see a huge difference in your life–GUARANTEED!

How to practice gratitude

How to Practice Gratitude: Guide to Happiness By Giving Thanks 

Gratitude is reflecting on things that we already have and being appreciative of them.  It’s really important to be grateful especially on the smallest things that we take for granted.  When we give thanks, we usually do it out of courtesy and politeness.  It’s what our parents taught us as kids.  We don’t really give that much thought on the benefits it can provide us.  Not only is it “good deeds to others,” but also a selfceare for our souls.

Benefits of Gratitude 

Emotional Benefits

Happiness.   Gratitude is a  powerful tool we can use for proactivity.  We can use gratitude to change our current state to happiness anytime we desire.  When we learn how to be grateful, we learn to see the goodness that life has to offer.  We become more optimistic and start to see the glass half full.  We shift our focus on what we have rather than what we don’t have and material things start to become less significant.  

Attracts abundance.  Gratitude directs our focus on the good things–big or small.  When we focus on the positive things, we become a positive person and consequently attract good people and events in our lives.  I remember a few winters ago where my family and I got into snowboarding.  After realizing the power of focus, it reminded me of the most important technique the instructor was teaching.  She said that “if we want to control our board’s direction through the slippery snow, we just turn our head while pointing and one arm toward the desired direction and everything else will follow.  From your hips down, all the way to your snowboard–everything else will follow.  This is entirely true with our lives.  Shift your focus on a certain target (good things in your life) and everything will flow smoothly to that direction.   

Mental Benefits

Less self conscious (what others think of us).  Sometimes we get consumed with what others might think of us that we strive for success for the wrong reasons.  We aim to do well for approval of others and would always be on a conquest to achieve just to prove ourselves to them.   If we are appreciative of what we have, we tend to focus less on ourselves and what others think of us because we are content.  We make decisions without fear of rejection.  We act according to our values and because we choose to–not what others expect us to do.  

Less envious (what we think of others).  As we look at other people’s lives and see their success, we should be happy for them.  People who forgets to appreciate tend to feel sorry for themselves, compare themselves to others, wishes to have what others have, and at worst, develop bitterness towards those who are living their dreams.   Fill your hearts with gratitude and you’ll realize that there is enough richness to go around for everyone.  You’ll develop healthier relationship with others whether with your family, friends, or colleagues simply because you genuinely feel good when you see them succeed.  

Physical Benefits

Healthier.  Our mind really is a powerful thing.  If we control our mindset and reach within our hearts, we can achieve higher awareness which greatly affects our emotions and physical state.  Stress will be a thing of the past as we free ourselves from self doubt, be more confident, more resilient, and have more certainty — all by products of gratitude.  

  • Less anxiety and stress
  • Sleep better
  • More motivated to exercise

How to Integrate Gratitude Into Your Daily Life

Start From Within

Meditate. As always or as you will learn from my other blog posts, most of my articles are centered on starting within.  Learning how to practice gratitude is easier when you clear your mind.  Meditating will help you reach your heart which I believe is where the center of gratitude resides.  Hop on to my post  Meditation for Beginners: Meditation Techniques to Improve the Quality of Life if you haven’t explored the world of meditation.  Aim to meditate every morning before starting your day.  This will definitely ensure that you start off with a positive attitude before you even begin your day.  

  • Think of at least 3 things that you appreciate in your life.  This can be something as simple as being able to wake up from a warm cozy bed or big things like graduating from college.
  • As you arrive at your 3 things, focus and FEEL the goodness it brings your heart.  Then imagine the emptiness you’d feel when these 3 things suddenly disappear from your life.  Imagine the disappointment of having them and losing it in a blink of an eye.
  • Now imagine these things come back into your life.  Feel the happiness and content rush back into your body, mind, and heart.  Hold on to these feelings and this time don’t let go.  Don’t ever let go.

How to practice gratitude

Journal.  After meditation, you would have gathered your thoughts and emotions and should have realized the things you are really grateful for.  Jot them down in your journal as keepsake–something to look back to in times of struggle.  You can do this everyday or once a week.  I prefer doing it at least once a week to give me enough time to reflect deeper {plus everyday is a little overkill, don’t you think?}.

  • Write 3 things you’re thankful for.
  • Be true to what you write about.  This is the only way you can reach deep in your heart.  This process will also help you get to know yourself better.  Anyway, it’s a no judgment zone and it does not need to be perfect!
  • Ask yourself empowering questions:  “What can I contribute to others?” “What can I look forward to today?”  This will guide you to be in control mode and prepare yourself to work on things that really matters…things that you are grateful for…things that will bring you pure joy.

How to practice gratitude

Learn from your mistakes.  It’s so easy to blame someone else or the whole world when your decisions don’t bring your desired results.  These so-called “mistakes” are often a negative driver that we associate with pain.  Since pain is often a strong experience, it dwells longer in our minds.  But once we see our mistakes as merely experiences that shape our destiny, we can instead learn and be more grateful for it.  You need to accept that as human beings, we are bound to make mistakes.  But we can’t let those mistakes mask the beauty of life.

Spread the Attitude

Say “Thank You.”  Now that you’ve learned what you can do from within to experience gratitude, next step is to spread gratitude.  The more you give out, the better you’ll feel within yourself.  Whatever your belief system is, thank your creator, the universe, yourself, and others for being able to experience TODAY.  Say a prayer of thanks for being able to breathe and just be alive! Exhale positive energy to contribute back to the universe.  Celebrate yourself for all the achievements you have attained in life.  Call someone or, for my fellow millennials, send a text to give a simple thank you before starting your day.  

Random acts of kindness.  Do at least one act of kindness without expecting returns.  Although, the feelings you get after is a reward in itself because it just feels so damn good!  Spread the goodness and make other people’s day through a simple smile as your hello, a compliment, or making a cup of coffee for your coworker.  Little things everyday has an exponential ripple effect that you will probably be unaware of–but it’s there.

Avoid complaining.  This brings us back to our theme–FOCUS. When we complain, we tend to focus on the negative things instead of the positives.  Also, complaining leads to venting to our friends or colleagues.  Just like kindness, complaining can also spread like wildfire.  So please, if you’re not happy with the situation you’re in, do something to change it instead of complaining.  

Contribute back to the community.  Communities are established to create a house of people that are there for connection and support.  It brings us that sense of belonging and security that we are not alone in this sometimes crazy world that we live in.  Show your appreciation through giving back by donating time and/or money.  Volunteer in hospitals, shelters, and little leagues.  Run a marathon for a good cause.  There are so many options to contribute.  You just need to make that conscious effort to not neglect something that we are so privileged to have.  

Things I Am Thankful For

Now that you’ve learned how to practice gratitude, I would like to share with you things that I’m truly thankful for.

How to practice gratitude

In no particular order:

  1. My family
  2. My home
  3. To live and experience
  4. Being able to teach my kids how to practice gratitude
  5. Food and desserts (I have a sweet tooth)
  6. The history that shaped the world we live in.  The previous generation that created life-changing innovations that allow us to live comfortably.
  7. The World Wide Web that’s readily accessible at any time providing us with unlimited information right in our pockets
  8. The connection and relationships that we can make with people globally through cell phones, laptops, and social media
  9. The fresh air that I breathe and fresh clean water I can drink and bathe in
  10. Transportation modes that can take me places locally and internationally
  11. My work that provides me financial security
  12. The clothes and makeup I can wear to express my creativity and love for fashion and beauty

How to practice gratitude

These are all the things I am thankful for, and I bet I can go on and on if I don’t limit it to a blog post.  If you look closely, it started with the obvious ones like family and home–very short and expected.  As I look further within, it becomes more specific and detailed; things we usually take for granted in our daily lives.  And digging even further, you start to feel the essence of gratitude and the happiness and contentment it brings.

Now it’s your turn.  Learn how to practice gratitude!  Or here’s a more effective way: teach someone how to practice gratitude and show how life-changing it can be.  Then start incorporating, as Tony Robbins would say, “the attitude of gratitude” into your dailies by meditating, starting a gratitude journal, and doing by giving thanks.

Happy “Thanks” giving!

 


How to Practice Gratitude is part 4 of the Perfecting Habits Series where you can join me in incorporating some habits that definitely changed the course and my outlook in life. Get your FREE Habit Tracker today and use it as a tool to help you to develop good habits for yourself! 

 

2 Comments

  1. Sarah | Sarah Ever After

    March 7, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    It really is amazing how taking a few moments to cultivate gratitude can change our whole outlook. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and suggestions!

    1. perfectingcarla

      March 7, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      You’re so very welcome! Yes, it only takes a small amount of time and the results are exponential. Especially if you do it consistently!

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