A daily practice of gratitude can help you to feel happy more often, simply because gratitude smooths the rough edges in your life and keeps you focused on the good stuff, rather than obsessing about things that might drag you down into feelings of sadness or frustration.
Below you’ll find three simple ways to use gratitude to be happier every day:
1) Be grateful for the blessings you already have.
It’s very easy to slip into a negative mindset and see only problems and obstacles. Make it a habit to consciously focus on the good stuff as often as possible. You can keep a written gratitude journal, or simply recite a mental list of things to be grateful for each night before you go to sleep.
If you’re facing a lot of stress or problems in your life right now, you may not think that you have much to be grateful for, but even the small things can remind you of just how fortunate you are. Give thanks for the people in your life, your beloved pets, your health, freedom and more. If you take nothing for granted, you will soon recognize just how blessed you are.
2) Feel optimistic about the good things on their way to you.
One reason you may feel dissatisfied with your life is because you fear that it will always be this way. However, just because you can’t see any way to improve your circumstances right now doesn’t mean that miracles can’t show up later.
Instead of getting stuck in doubt and pessimism, affirm and know that the things you want are on the way. Give thanks for these things as if you know with absolute certainty that they will be yours. The more you do this, the happier you’ll feel, and that happiness will continue to grow as your circumstances improve.
3) Blow it out of proportion.
Have you ever made a big deal over a minor problem and blown it all out of proportion? Most of us have. While that’s typically an unproductive thing to do, you can turn it around and make it a good thing. Make a huge deal over every tiny blessing and good thing that happens to you.
Did you win $5.00 on an instant lottery ticket? Scream and celebrate it! Feel the same amount of gratitude you’d feel if you won a huge jackpot. When someone pays you a compliment, focus on it for a little while and allow yourself to feel wonderful about it. When anything good happens, mentally turn it into a great experience.
You may notice that these gratitude exercises have one common theme: they are all about perception. In every situation there are positives and negatives, and your mood and mind-set are very much the result of what you choose to focus on the most.
Choose pessimism and lack, and you’ll feel miserable. Choose gratitude and joy, and you’ll feel happy!