Practice Gratitude: What To Do When You Don’t Feel Grateful
“Practice gratitude and you’ll never be sad.” This is a quote from the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. There are so many benefits to practicing gratitude, including improved sleep quality, increased life expectancy, decreased depression symptoms, better self-esteem, and lower anxiety levels. The list goes on! In this list, I will discuss what it means to practice gratitude; why it’s important; how to keep a daily gratitude journal; 6 benefits of writing out your gratitudes in more detail every day; even though there are much more than six.
How does a person practice gratitude?
There are many ways to take on this attitude. You can: write down all the things you’re grateful for that day; create your own list of three items each day, and expand it if you want; or use an app like “Gratitude Journal” from the App Store. Somewhere, a list is to be made!
Why is it important to practice gratitude?
There are many reasons to be grateful. First and foremost, practicing gratitude can lead to a happier life. Studies have shown that people who cultivate an attitude of thankfulness experience: reduced depression symptoms; increased longevity; better self-esteem and lower anxiety levels. The list goes on. Practicing gratitude has also been found to contribute positively towards the building of strong relationships with others. For example, when you’re focused on what’s going right in your relationship, rather than focusing on why it might not work out or what went wrong in the past, the positive feelings increase for both partners. This could mean less fighting about little things like chores or where one person spends more time at home versus being at work all the time.
The benefits of practicing gratitude journaling include:
1. Being able to focus on what’s good in one’s life and those around them
It is a struggle to keep the head up when life throws one obstacle after another, but it’s important not to lose sight of what we have. We may be in pain sometimes and want to shut out the world around us for protection, but that only causes more problems. The best way through difficult times is focusing on those who love you unconditionally – your family members, friends, or even just nature, if there are no people close by; these, will give you some relief from stress during tough moments while also giving strength so that they can go back into their lives with newfound hope.
Some days all seem dark and heavy like an oppressive cloak surrounding them until suffocating any light left within reachable distance–but others see every day as filled with new opportunities. Consciously choosing to see the glass half full does help turn things around in time.
2. Feeling less stressed and resentful
Though it may seem simple, taking a few minutes for ourselves can make all the difference.
You know how you’re always so busy with work and school? It’s easy to feel like there are not enough hours in the day. If we take time just for ourselves–whether it’s reading articles online or meditating–our lives improve as well because of an increase in self-awareness. In fact, studies have shown that people who practice mindfulness regularly experience less stress and resentment. Not only does this help your mental health stay positive longer, but also makes life easier for those around you! So next time feeling overwhelmed sets in at home or during homework sessions try one of these exercises: close your eyes while focusing on the inward and outward movement of your breath. Meditation is an amazing daily tool that can help with anxiety, depression, addiction cravings, and more.
3. Getting perspective by practicing self-compassion
It’s hard not to feel like a failure when we get really down on ourselves, but practicing self-compassion is the best way to help us see our successes.
It can be difficult for anyone struggling with low feelings of worth or accomplishment never mind it happening often in people who are recovering from addiction or mental illness. One step that has helped me through this struggle is seeking perspective by practicing self-compassion and having compassion for myself as I go about my day striving toward specific goals. Also taking care of my daily responsibilities such as work or being accountable in my relationships.
4. Gaining the sense that anything is possible with hard work
The Pygmalion Effect, also called the “Pygmalion Syndrome,” is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual believes someone can accomplish something because they want them to. This belief has been found experimentally and it provides evidence that anything really could be possible with hard work if you just believe. I once read that “imagination is not just the ability to visualize something. It’s a belief in your own capability.”
The feeling that anything is possible with hard work makes it worthwhile to wake up every morning and get started. The journey may be long but the destination will always feel worth it when you finally arrive at your goal, not just for yourself but also for those who supported you on this quest.
5. Receiving support from others
Reaching out to other people in the same situation is very healing. Working together through life’s struggles can give you a sense of direction when others are there to support as they are going on their own path as well.
Receiving support from someone who is struggling with similar goals, or just being able to talk about what they’re feeling, can be one of the most valuable relationships for some.
6. Reaching higher levels of happiness through all these things
There’s a lot you can do to feel more content. As mentioned, it is achievable through gratitude, relationships, self-compassion, and forgiveness for yourself or others, as well as the belief that anything can happen if you believe in it.
Grateful people experience more positive emotions, are less likely to experience depression and anxiety, feel closer to others (and therefore have stronger relationships), maintain better physical health through their self-care practices like eating right and getting enough sleep; they live longer lives.
So how can you cultivate an attitude of thankfulness? One way is to practice gratitude journaling, or writing out your gratitude on a regular basis. Check out some fun ideas to journal on here.
Moral of the story, the importance of gratitude journaling as well as how it can be beneficial if done on a regular basis in order to create a more content life with fewer negative feelings such as resentfulness, stress, or feeling stuck. Who wouldn’t want to increased happiness levels due to simply practicing some gratitude writing each day?
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