In a world that is constantly moving, it’s important, now more than ever, to take the time to stop and reflect. Between the stresses of work, family, and social responsibilities, it’s easy to forget why we’re doing and what we get out of it. This can often lead to negative thinking, which in turn can cause stress, and then turn into depression. That’s the last think any of us want, so we need to take action now.
Gratitude has been found to help us in our eternal quest for feeling happier and more satisfied with life. The basic idea is to remind us that, even amidst all of the stress, chaos, and sometimes sadness of everyday life, there are good things happening all the time. And this is more than a passing fad – it’s backed up by science too, with studies linking gratitude, or rather a lack thereof, to depression.
So, how does a person start practising gratitude? Well, that all depends on you and what fits in with your lifestyle. You might choose one method or you might throw yourself in, feet first, and embrace any number of gratitude techniques! There’s no right or wrong answer, but there are these three ways of practising gratitude – among plenty of others, of course!
Start a Gratitude Journal
If you already keep a diary, then you probably won’t find a gratitude journal too challenging. You could incorporate your gratitude journaling into your current diary or start a brand new one just for this purpose. The idea is essentially to list the good things that happen to you. You can do this every day or every week – whatever works for you.
An example might be listing five good things that have happened that day; remember, they don’t have to be big events – a phone call with a friend or the discovery of a new herbal tea you enjoy should definitely make it into your diary! Learn more about keeping a gratitude journal here.
Keep a Happiness Jar
A really cute idea, the happiness jar, or gratitude jar, is a fun way of recording the good things that happen to you. The premise is similar to that of the gratitude journal – you write down good things that happen to you, no matter how big or small, except that you do so on small pieces of paper and store them in a jar.
This one is less about lists so, whilst some might find it helpful to do this at a set time of the day, if routine isn’t for you, you can just as easily write these down as the positive events happen. Read more about keeping a happiness jar in our blog.
Write a Thank You Letter
Writing a letter includes other people in your gratitude, which is always a good thing. Thank you letters don’t have to be all about saying thank you – they can simply be an expression of your positive feelings towards someone, perhaps a love letter to your husband or wife, or a note to a parent expressing how much you value them and your relationship with them.
You can choose to send your letters, or not, but the important thing is writing them. You might make letter-writing a regular activity to keep you feeling positive, or you might write a few as a one-off exercise. Either way, this is a beautiful and positive way of reminding yourself and others of the happiness that they bring to your life.