Gratitude isn't just saying thank you if someone gives you a gift, or buying pizza for your friends when they help you move. Being thankful in those situations is definitely important, but there's more to it.
Gratitude goes beyond what other people do for you and being appreciative. It's a daily practice of honoring the good that exists in your life, which includes your own accomplishments and things you would otherwise take for granted if you didn't make an effort to acknowledge them.
A gratitude practice involves making a list, journal entry, or taking time to simply think about whatever is positive in your life. Whatever works for you is fine. As long as you make gratitude a consistent habit, you're doing it right.
Some days, you might name the same exact things as yesterday. But every day brings something that you will feel good about if you pause to consider it. Even on your darkest days, you can find sources of joy and reasons not to despair.
You can feel gratitude for safety, always having enough to eat, or a special friendship. It can be a small victory like paying your bills on time, passing a test, or taking good care of yourself in some way. Consider everything large and small, whether it's the opportunity for education or a smile from the stranger you passed on the sidewalk.
So many people in the world don't have basic necessities and live in poverty. Not everyone has close relationships with others they can rely upon; they're lonely and in need. Some fear for their lives and experience violence, or struggle with illness. Maybe you deal with some of these issues, too. But there is always hope in gratitude.
When you need inspiration for a gratitude practice, think of what you do have, what you have done, and not what isn't your reality. Remember what you can control; be reasonable about what you expect. Don't give in to jealousy or compare yourself to other people who have what you think is "more" than what you've got or view them as superior.
Celebrate what is. And there is so much good every single day.
Your life and being exactly who you are (without any change) is enough. It's okay to want something or set goals, but don't define your sense of self-worth on whether or not it happens.
You can even be grateful when you fail. When you make mistakes and encounter the consequences, you learn and grow. It's not easy, but you shouldn't feel discouraged. Be kind to yourself, trying to truly feel gratitude for an experience that makes you stronger. While not easy, it's powerful medicine.
Why does gratitude matter? Studies show that regular practice reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, and benefits you psychologically. Making it a habit can transform your outlook by redirecting negative thoughts.
Gratitude helps you feel generally more positive, which changes everything for the better. Give it a try by making daily entries with our gratitude journal.