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Being grateful can bring more joy to your life

“Grateful for small things, big things

and everything in between” - Mandy Hale

Incorporating gratefulness into my life happened during my time at university. Whilst studying about the correlation between positive psychology and mental health wellbeing, a study about gratefulness was presented to my group. A study by Alex M. Grant (2010) found that student’s well being can enhance through practicing gratefulness daily. Results showed that their social relationships improved whilst their stress levels were reduced. Intrigued by results, my research regarding gratefulness started and here is what I learnt.

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles” - Vicki Becker

Firstly, Google informed me that gratefulness is “a feeling of appreciation or thanks”. Researching further, gratefulness was defined as “ a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in the lives”.

Given the information of what gratitude represents, I searched further, to understand how to incorporate gratitude into my everyday life. Gratitude practice can be split into a few sections as certain practices might include writing things down and other aspects are based on thoughts and beliefs. Throughout different studies, writing a journal was used as a primary practice and therefore my decision was to try that idea out first.

Practicing gratefulness bought more joy to my life and through direct practice it became a part of my life. Not all methods work for everyone and some will work better than others. Here are some other methods and hopefully they will help you become more grateful!

Ways of incorporating gratefulness into your life:

  1. Gratefulness Journal

Writing a journal can be done regularly and can be revisited when you are feeling down. If you enjoy keeping a diary it will be easy to keep committed to this and you may find it enjoyable. Plus it gives you another excuse to buy another nice notebook.

Tip: Write specific things rather than broad - instead of writing “I’m grateful for my bed” try writing “I’m grateful for having a warm and cozy bed to sleep in tonight”.

2. Writing a letter

Writing a grateful letter to family, friends or even strangers who affected your life can increase levels of happiness and satisfaction. Writing letters may help you feel better due to thanking people directly for all things they do for you. Importantly, you should write thank you letters to yourself as it is easy to dismiss everything you do daily for your body and mind.

Tip: If you can not write a letter due to time issues but want to practice gratefulness, try writing a thank you note to you family members, friends, colleagues or yourself.

3. Gratefulness Jar

Another creative way of incorporating gratitude into your daily routine is having a gratefulness jar somewhere in your home, which you can have easy access to. Gratefulness Jar can be used both when you want to be grateful and when you need to remind yourself of the good things in your life for which you are grateful. This can be used by just you, or you and your family.

Each day you could write on a piece of paper, what are you grateful for and put in the jar. On days when you find it difficult to be grateful, you can take out a few of the posts and read them. It will make you feel better, I promise.

Tip: Bring out the artist in your and decorate the jar with different colours and stickers. Also don’t forget to keep the jar somewhere where it is easy to see it so you can remember to put those notes in and see them pilling up.

4. Writing stuff in your phone

My personal favourite is writing things down in your phone as they happen. In my notes, there is a special page where I write the date on the top and during the day I simply list what am I grateful for. Sometimes there will be a long list of around 10 points but there will also be days where I barely write three things. The joy of writing stuff in your phone is that you can write things whilst commuting, talking, being at work or communicating. Furthermore, you can read whenever you feel like it which sometimes might be in the five minute break you have at work. Writing up in your phone is easy, accessible and reliable.

Tip: Put pictures or sketches next to your lists and then when you re-read your notes, you can remember the exact moments and be grateful for them.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is associated with many good benefits such as gaining new skills, improving your CV, making new friends, etc. Through volunteering, many people find a way to reflect on their experience and be grateful for what they have in their life. Many volunteers report that whilst volunteering and working hard, they become more thankful for their own life situation. Furthermore, finding out which non-profit organisations exist can bring joy to your life as you can be grateful for them. Knowing that there can be others who can help you if ever in need of it can bring feelings of content and safety.

Tip: If you decide to volunteer, try finding organisations which support issues that you feel passionate about.

6. Actively look out for things to be grateful for

Last but certainly not least, you need to have a desire to be grateful and look for it in small things. In our everyday lives, there are many moments for which we can be grateful if we choose to see it.

Tip: Start noticing your everyday rituals, interactions and how do they make you feel. If walking through a park before work makes you feel peaceful then be grateful for that moment and embrace it. Being grateful can bring more joy to your life

We hope you enjoyed reading our blog on gratefulness this week and that it has inspired you to try practicing gratefulness! Let us know in the comments below if you do try any of the suggested methods!

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