This is a follow up post to the one we did earlier this week on the benefits of being grateful . So, you know why it’s great to be thankful and grateful but often it is hard to understand how to make the shift from how we think now to how we want to think. It is one thing to read a blog post and feel inspired for the moment, it’s another to know how to make that inspiration thought/idea a reality. We have some tips on how you can train yourself to think in a way that makes you more thankful on a daily basis. At first you will need to remind yourself of these things on a daily basis. We recommend using sticky notes or reminders on your calendar, email tasks (if you use outlook), phone reminders/alarms, etc. Once this becomes more natural and you find yourself automatically “going to your thankful place” you can stop worrying so much about the routine and just live life. However, like anything you do want to check on yourself every once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost sight of how you want your thoughts to “look”. Do they still look like someone filled with joy and gratitude for their life? If not, try the start up tips again to give yourself another little push in the right direction.
- 1. Start by Taking it One Day/Moment at a Time: Being grateful is something that can be trained from moment to moment, and day to day. You have to think short term on this one.
- Tomorrow when you wake up think of 10 things you are grateful for. The study mentioned in psychology today found that participants in the study that were asked what they were thankful for throughout the study experiences higher levels of optimism and positive moods than those who weren’t asked. So, ask yourself, what do you have to be grateful for today?
- As you go through your day find gratitude in ALL circumstances. When you drive to work look around and notice things you are happy you get to see on your way to work, or things you don’t have to see. When you lunch order goes wrong, find a way to be thankful you have the money to order from a great sandwich shop, or that you get a lunch break at all. When your children are running around like crazy be grateful they are healthy enough to run around (some aren’t). When your friend disappoints you be thankful that you have a friend you care enough for that they are capable of disappointing you.
- When you go to bed list 10 things that happen that day to be grateful for.
- In circumstances where it seems impossible to find happiness, find a way to make it positive and be thankful. An example of this, may be you have struggled with acne and your friend has beautiful skin. She doesn’t even wash her face every night and somehow her skin is amazing and you spend hours of your time and lots of money on skin care products to try and keep your acne at bay, yet your skin still look nothing like hers. You have a hard time not thinking how you wish your skin was like hers. A spin on this is that you can be thankful that your acne issue has caused you to learn how to really care for your skin properly. Your acne will go away, and you will be left with beautiful young looking skin because you used great products for so many years. Your friend on the other hand might not. Be thankful for what you learn and get out of your trials in life. They are often more valuable than any “luxury” that allows us to skip those trials. It’s hard to see that value when you are in the middle of the turmoil, but if you can be grateful for the unknown, knowing it will pay out in the end, you will find yourself a much happier, more at peace person.
- Give Compliments: Start saying the nice things you always think but never say. Thinking nice things about someone is a way of feeling gratitude for that part of them. If you think it, say it. You will be surprised at how saying it makes you feel even more thankful for them than you did before you said it. They feel happier and you feel happier.
- In the Face of Negativity Do the Opposite: Gratitude for others in some cases is easy to come by, but in other cases feels a bit more difficult. If you are in a situation where its hard to think of something nice to say to someone, or something you want to thank them for, think harder. Letting someone take away from the extent to which you can be fully satisfied with your day is a choice that believe it or not, YOU MAKE, not them. In cases where you otherwise might want to be irritated thank the person for something. By doing this you are consciously positioning yourself to not give their behavior any authority over your happiness.
- Keep a Journal: Write down highlights and low-lights of your journey to extreme gratitude. Read it from time to time. You will love to see the growth you will have and you will also benefit from reading it on a bad day. It will remind you of the days when you had a better perspective.