How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude is an emotion where you appreciate what you have.

However, in today’s society it’s really easy to get caught up in wanting what everyone else has – to lose track of what we have and instead focus on what we want. When we do this we compare our lives to that of others and this leaves us feeling as if we fall short.

It’s also easy to tally our faults and flaws, or turn small things into insurmountable problems.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way and we can choose a different path – the path to being more appreciative and grateful.

“Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.”
Sara Ban Breathnach

Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and this can increase our well-being. In fact, gratitude—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.

“In ordinary life we hardly realise that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Luckily, gratitude is something that can be practiced – and if we do it regularly it could quite literally change our lives – but it’s got to be frequent and genuine.

The following are some questions and statements that you can use to practice gratitude:

  • Describe something you do every day that your grateful for
  • Name something that someone has helped you with
  • What talent or skills are you thankful for?
  • Name a taste, flavour or song that gives you joy
  • What is a smell or scent that makes you happy?
  • Describe a time when a stranger helped you
  • Name a thoughtful gift you have given someone
  • Look outside and what do you see you are grateful for
  • What was fun about your day?
  • Describe one of your best qualities

By practicing gratitude every day – in what you do and what you say – could literally change your life.
What are some of the different ways you can practice gratitude?

John Pertl

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