3+1 Ways to Find your Grateful Side for a Happier Life
We all know how it feels to sometimes be sad, unmotivated or even grumpy. In such cases, we tend to blame various environmental factors, but let’s face it: we cannot put everything down to these circumstances. According to research, we are responsible for 40% of our own happiness and an effective way to increase it is gratitude. By the end of the article, you will learn several ideas on how to find your grateful side in your everyday life.
Why is it important to be grateful?
Research has shown that approximately 50% of our happiness is determined by genetics and biological factors (it is a so-called “tendency to happiness”); the influences and life circumstances (including our financial situation, social network or appearance, etc.) account for 10%, leaving 40% attributable to our own attitude and behaviour.
Let’s take it simply: when can we feel happier? When we have plenty of positive emotions. Grateful individuals experience a wider variety of them such as joy and satisfaction. Also, feeling gratitude is frequently associated with lower levels of negative emotions. If you are grateful, you might not feel angry, scared or jealous. These all have a substantial impact on your level of happiness. On this account, gratitude is not only a part of spirituality, but also an important basic concept in positive psychology.
It depends on your personality how often you should practise gratitude: every day, every two or three days or every week. Research shows that doing exercises once a week can significantly affect happiness. However, it can also occur that you need it more or less often. What is important is not to get used to it. To avoid this, you can vary both the exercises and how frequently you complete them.
3 ways to practise gratitude
1. Write a “letter of gratitude”
It might sound old school, but believe us, it is worth a try. Sit down and write this letter by hand, on a piece of paper using a pen. Nowadays we rarely do this, which makes this activity special. Even if we write about our gratitude, wording a letter itself has several beneficial effects; for example, it helps us concentrate and clarify our feelings, thus relieve our tension and gain new perspectives. Address this letter to a person who is important in your life and give some details about your gratitude, the reason why you are grateful to him or her. If you have the chance, read it out to that person. You can write to someone who is either an active part of your everyday life or who is no longer around.
2. Make a “gratitude jar”
This is a great way to sneak gratitude into your everyday life, even if you can only devote little time, energy and efforts to it. The task is to find something in each day that you can be grateful for. You do not have to think of big things all the time such as “I have something to eat”. It could be just that “I didn’t get soaked in the rain today”. The point is to think of something similar every day and write it down on a tiny piece of paper. Buy a nice mason jar, or if you are a more creative person, you can craft a lovely one yourself. This will be your “gratitude jar” to collect the sticky notes you write every day. If you have a day when you feel blue, just pull one out to remind yourself of these positive memories and feelings you have experienced.
3. Write a “gratitude diary”
Considering these three tasks, this one is the most time-consuming, but at the same time, its impact can be more significant. This activity will not only strengthen your ability to practise gratitude, but it may also make it easier for you to identify your feelings. Take some time each evening to sit down in peace and quiet; think about your day, reflecting on both the good and the bad things. When you are ready, choose three events, moments or feelings that you find the most important in the day and that you think you can be grateful for. Write these down in a notebook that will later be your “gratitude diary”. Then complete the three things with the following information: describe why you have chosen them and summarise how you feel about each particular situation. Repeat this every day. Not only will you learn to see what you can be grateful for, but your vocabulary of positive emotions can also be expanded. If you have a hard or challenging day, feel free to gain strength from your diary.
+1: the “magic” expression
There is an effective way to make yourself feel better: make the people in your environment more satisfied and pleased. There are words – such as “thank you” – that are kind to almost everyone. Anything can be appreciated and in a lot of situations we do it routinely. So, why should we not pay attention to using this gesture consciously? Express your gratitude to those you meet in the form of a “thank you”. Say thank you to the bus driver who waited for you in the morning rush. If you had a nice meal in a restaurant and were satisfied with the service, say it. Show appreciation to your colleagues for their work. The list of people you meet every day could be endless, and believe me, if you try, you will find a reason for being grateful to each of them. However, keep one thing in mind: do not leave yourself off the list. The goal is not just to be in a better mood by appreciating others, it is also important to always value yourself, in all circumstances.
Give these practices a try and see how big changes can be made with so little efforts. If you would like to read and get more exercises and tips, visit our app.