6 Ways to Practice Gratitude (And Empower Yourself to Grab Life by the Balls)

Telling someone to practice gratitude when life has them down must seem like a rather peculiar concept. Who has time to feel grateful when everything is falling apart? But think about it–have you ever come across someone who was unhappy or feeling sorry for themselves while being grateful? The fact is that gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions you can utilize to change your outlook.

Science has started to acknowledge that those who practice gratitude reap more benefits and experience more enjoyment. One such study reported:

“Grateful people report themselves as being less materialist and less envious. In particular, grateful people report being more willing to part with their possessions, more generous with them, less envious of the material wealth of others, less committed to the idea that material wealth brings happiness. Apparently, material success is not a very important factor in the happiness of highly grateful people.”

Becoming more in tune with the things that are positive in your life will help increase your happiness. Focusing on the negative, or all the things that you don't have, will only cause those problems to become magnified.

Here are 6 ways you can start to practice gratitude each day

Get a gratitude journal

In Arianna Huffington’s book Thriveshe spoke about the benefits of gratitude journals stating:

“According to a study by researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida, having participants write down a list of positive events at the close of a day — and why the events made them happy — lowered their self-reported stress levels and gave them a greater sense of calm at night.”

Get into the habit of writing down five things that you have to be grateful for each day. Where possible, try to not list the same things each day. It could start with small things such as “I am grateful that I am healthy” or “I am grateful that I had a delicious dinner tonight.”

Oprah Winfrey has religiously kept a gratitude journal and here is what she wrote that she was grateful for on October 12, 1996:

1. A run around Florida's Fisher Island with a slight breeze that kept me cool. 2. Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun. 3 . A long and hilarious chat with Gayle about her blind date with Mr. Potato Head. 4. Sorbet in a cone, so sweet that I literally licked my finger. 5. Maya Angelou calling to read me a new poem.

Tell someone how you feel

We all know that those we love will not be here forever. Call that person today–tell them how much they mean to you. Or if they are near to you, simply give them an unexpected hug.

Set your mood for the day

When you wake up in the morning, allow yourself to lie in bed for a few extra minutes and be mindful. Practice gratitude before you get out of bed. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What have I got to be thankful for today?
  • What makes me smile?
  • Who do I love and who loves me back?
  • Why am I happy to be me?

Stop reaching for your phone

If you're having some downtime, don’t reach for your phone. Allow your body and mind to relax without that distraction.

If you are spending time with friends or loved ones, unless it's an emergency, don’t check your phone. Remember, time is precious and you may not always have those moments.

Find beauty in nature

Even if you live in a big city, there are still beautiful skies to see or gardens to walk past. Appreciate a beautiful day or wonderful scenery as often as you can.

Acts of kindness

Incorporate more acts of kindness into your days. If possible, try to make them a daily habit. And whenever you can, do kind deeds without being asked. For those who have free time, consider volunteering for a good cause.

Albert Einstein once said: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Realize today that miracles are everywhere and your life is an example of this. Once you realize this, start to live accordingly.