7 Tips to Help You Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
An attitude of gratitude can be hard to come by, especially when your “stroke” of bad luck suddenly turns into the worst month of your life.
It begins to seem like the odds are against you.
First, a break-up.
Then an unexpected illness.
Then your car breaks down.
You frequently find yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop.
While nobody wants terrible things to happen, a lack of gratitude can undoubtedly make things seem worse than they really are.
A shift in mindset is definitely in order.
So follow these seven tips to have an attitude of gratitude.
1. Start a Gratitude Journal or List
When the world seems to be crashing down around you, it might be hard to keep your judgment clear and the positivity flowing.
You know that there are a ton of good things in your life. But in those moments of despair, you just can’t seem to find them.
Start a gratitude journal or list.
Take a blank sheet of paper, an entire notebook, or even a word document on your computer. And when your mind is clear — just start writing.
Make a list of everything in your life that you’re grateful for:
You can then look back at your journal or list when life seems to be going downhill, reminding yourself that there’s still good left in the world. And in your life as well.
2. Look For One Positive In Everything
The last thing you want to hear when things are going poorly is the old cliche, “Look at the bright side!”
It’s much easier said than done.
The trick to being grateful for everything that happens in your life — is taking a step back and looking at the whole picture.
Let’s say you lost your job.
How could that possibly be a good thing? Well, if you were planning to switch careers anyway, this could be precisely what you need to take the next steps.
In some situations, like losing a loved one, you might not find solace in “remembering the good times” you spent together.
Sometimes, you can be grateful for something you learned instead.
3. Give Back To Your Community
We stay within our comfort zones because it’s what we know.
Yet, sheltering ourselves from the rest of the world can be detrimental to our growth and gratefulness.
Looking within isn’t always enough.
Giving back to the community around you is an excellent way to build thankfulness in your own life.
Understand your purpose and what you have by:
- Tutoring at a local after school program
- Donating blood, becoming an organ donor, or registering to be a bone marrow donor
- Serving meals at the local food bank
- Hosting donations and drives to benefit those who are less fortunate
- Spending time at the local animal shelter
Volunteering is often a win-win situation.
You get to reflect and be grateful for what you have, and those who need a helping hand can get a little boost.
4. Do One Good Deed Every Day
One of the simplest ways to build your gratitude is by spreading positivity to others. You might be what somebody else needs to turn their day — or entire life — around.
Sometimes, one good deed a day is all it takes.
You can do something as simple as holding the door open for someone or offering to return a cart at the grocery store. If you’re on the road, let somebody merge in during rush hour.
You can throw out litter from the side of the road, put an extra quarter in a parking meter that’s expiring, or pay for the coffee of the person behind you.
One small act may be all you need to feel good inside, turn someone’s day around, and set off a chain of “paying it forward.”
No act of good is too small.
5. Go Out of Your Way to Be Nice to Others
Spreading happiness and building your inner gratitude doesn’t have to come from an action or the spending of money.
What you say is important too.
And sometimes, all it takes is a simple compliment to make a big difference and spread a little positivity into the world.
But compliments aren’t as easy as they sound.
You want to be sure you’re giving honest compliments and not centering all praise around a person’s physical appearance.
For example, bring recognition to a person’s courage, let them know that they’re important, and remind them that they’re awesome.
This can build the self-esteem of those around you.
But focusing on the positives that others represent can also help you take a deeper look within and pinpoint your own assets.
6. Tell Somebody That You Appreciate Them
Internally identifying the gratitude you have for another human being is essential for being grateful in your everyday life.
Yet, you can take it one step further.
Let them know!
Take the time to write a thoughtful letter, email, message, or note to an important person in your life.
Tell them how they changed your life, make your days brighter, or make you smile when you’re down on your luck.
You just might play that same role in their life!
7. Practice Meditation & Mindfulness
Let’s face it.
It’s hard to be grateful for what you have when your mind keeps flooding with negative thoughts and lingering stress.
Nothing brings positivity quite like meditation.
Meditating or practicing mindfulness for even a few moments per day can bring you back down to earth.
Take this time of superior mental focus to reflect.
Think about what you’re grateful for, how certain things and people have changed your life for the better, and how good life really is.
Make a habit of it, and you’ll see that gratitude becomes the norm in your life.
Remember that bad things and unfortunate events are unavoidable in life.
Still, you’ll find yourself always down in the dumps if those are the moments you choose to dedicate your energy toward.
So take a step back, look for the silver lining, and do your best to stay grateful.
About the Author
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Quarry Trail to help them with their online marketing.