When you carry gratitude in your heart, emotions like fear, anger, and despair evaporate into thin air. You don’t hold grudges toward anyone or hatred for your circumstances. With gratitude, you can find happiness and solace, even in the toughest of times. For its healing touch, experts around the world advise people to practice gratitude, to stay in touch with reality, and with the many gifts of life.
According to a study conducted by Emmons & McCullough, where participants were asked to keep a gratitude journal: “Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events”. Call gratitude a medicine created by nature that not only polishes your outlook towards life but also keeps you healthy.
The parallels between gratitude and our health were drawn by the experts at UC San Diego School of Medicine in their research. Talking about people who practice gratitude daily, the study’s author, Paul J Mills says, “They showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue and they slept better. When I am more grateful, I feel more connected with myself and with my environment. That’s the opposite of what stress does.”
Like any positive habit, gratitude takes conscious efforts and daily practice to become a part of your everyday life. Here are nine simple ways you can practice gratitude daily, to give your life a new shape and meaning.
Ask yourself introspective questions
To practice gratitude, ask yourself some introspective questions. For instance, ‘Did I say thank you where it was due?’ ‘What are the things I should be grateful for today?’ ‘Am I enjoying every moment of my life? When you ask such questions, you get clarity on what you should do and what you shouldn’t. Because often, we forget about all the good things in our lives, while chasing the great things we aspire to achieve. Asking yourself these introspective questions is a way to live in the present and be grateful for things you tend to overlook.
Keep a gratitude journal
Create a list of things you are grateful for in life. Whether it’s something as big as getting a promotion or as small as listening to your favourite music, write down everything that made you smile and feel warm inside. This is one of the best ways to practice gratitude. Don’t forget to update this list every day. You’d be surprised to see how peaceful and stress-free you will feel daily.
Volunteer to help others
When you volunteer for a cause, you reciprocate the kindness you have received from others. It’s one way of giving back to your community and connect with lives you didn’t know before.
Volunteering doesn’t always mean joining the Red Cross or the UN to help people in a war-torn country. You can take part in cleaning your streets, picking up plastic bottles on the beach, or collect food supplies for homeless people. Any volunteering work, big or small, can fill you with gratitude, and compassion for others.