Happy People Show Gratitude
The positive effects of gratitude on the psyche have been demonstrated in many scientific studies. Happiness and gratitude are closely related: Happy people are grateful.
Evolutionarily, the brain focuses more on the negative aspects than on beauty. It used to be a survival advantage to think this way, but today these thoughts plunge many people into unhappiness.
Through gratitude, you learn to be content with what you have. You also develop a more positive perspective. You can be grateful for many things: people, things, situations or experiences.
It's not about being happy and loving everything at all times, but about being more aware of the beautiful moments in life.
The 3 Stages of Gratitude
These stages are not a checklist to work through. There is no “goal” that you are working toward. Try to incorporate the stages into your life one at a time, and don't blame yourself if you can't do it every day.
The longer and more often you practice gratitude, the easier it will be.
- Notice: At first, we don't even notice many things to be grateful for because we take them for granted. This leads us to automatically focus on the bad aspects of life. Every moment of happiness and joy deserves gratitude. You can focus on remembering situations for which you are grateful in the evening, for example.
- Reflect and appreciate: Once you notice life's beautiful moments, the next step is to appreciate those situations. Get out of the habit of taking the positive for granted. Even things that seem negative at first glance can have positive sides that you can be grateful for.
- Practice gratitude: When you notice and appreciate the beautiful moments in life, you don't have to think or reflect for long before you remember such moments. You notice these moments more and more as they happen. This sharpened awareness provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness. When you combine gratitude and mindfulness, your quality of life will noticeably increase as you will be more present and content.
Gratitude in Everyday Life
Keeping a gratitude journal can help you be grateful on a regular basis. I have integrated this routine into my “weekly overview.”
You write down people or things for which you are grateful at the moment. By doing this, you remind yourself daily or weekly of situations that make you happy. By writing down these thoughts, you can refer back to these memories on days when you don't feel good.
The gratitude diary does not have to be extensive. A sheet of paper on which you write down the date and a few bullet points is sufficient. You don't have to follow a specific structure.
The most important thing is that you enjoy keeping the diary. If you already keep a diary, you can easily integrate the gratitude exercise into it. If you are looking for a little inspiration, you can read my article about my personal diary routine.
Showing Gratitude to Other People
When you openly show your gratitude to others and tell them how much they mean to you, you improve relationships with your friends and family as a result.
In the beginning, it can be unusual and somewhat embarrassing to talk so freely about your emotions. But once you get over yourself, you'll realize that it's important to talk about your feelings. Tell the people you love how you feel.
In addition, when you finish a book or another form of writing, it can be a nice feeling for everyone involved to add a short list of people you want to thank.
For what or for whom are you grateful? How could you show this gratitude now? Don't wait to be grateful!