11 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Gratitude Practice.
The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognising that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.
Humans are predisposed to see and focus on what goes wrong in our lives, to see the danger, so we can protect ourselves. It is called ‘negative bias’ and it is how we have survived. But it also has the added effect of making us feel like we aren’t enough, or that we don’t have enough, or that only bad things happen to us. We feel stressed and unhappy, even though there are a lot of positive things in our lives. There are many ways we can interrupt this bias, to rewire our brains to focus on the good things, to think more clearly, and in turn increase our life satisfaction, so we feel more content, and happy. One of the most effective ways to do this is by practising gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the powerful tools you can use to transform your life to one that is fulfilling, and a lot less chaotic. You will realise that the most important things in life, the ones we become truly grateful for, are the simple things. With this realisation you can release a lot of stress from your life. Gratitude is not about avoiding negative experiences altogether, it is about training your brain to appreciate the positive experiences when they happen and taking the time to focus on them.
Here are some simple but effective tips for getting the most out of your gratitude practice:
Write regularly and consistently
A good amount is three or four times a week. Evidence suggests writing occasionally is more beneficial than daily journaling because we can adapt to positive events and become numb to them.
Be specific about what you are grateful for
Elaborating in detail about a particular person or thing carries many more benefits than just a list of things. For example: “I am grateful for water and sunshine.” Instead you could write: “I am grateful for water, so that I can hydrate myself and enjoy a shower and sunshine because it makes me feel happy and warm.”
Record events that were unexpected or surprising. Be grateful that you avoided a negative outcome and don’t take good fortune for granted.
Keep the negative out
Make it a purely positive only exercise. The brain has a weird way of focusing on the negative, for example instead of saying “ I am grateful that I didn’t miss the bus this morning.” try “ I am grateful that I was early for the bus this morning.”
Don’t wait for the right time
Some people like a routine but if you have an awesome experience write it down straight away.
Think of what material possessions allow you to do
An example of this might be you are grateful that you have a car, but it is so much more powerful to recognise what having a car allows you to do or experience.
Noticing more and more what we can be grateful for,
helps us realise that happiness is right here within us.
Focus on people
Each time other people help us, they are doing so on purpose, it is called intention. They give something up in order to help us, such as their time or energy. Try recognising the personal cost to them for helping you and acknowledging the benefit to you .
Write about situations and experiences
Remember a good event, experience, person or thing in your life and the emotions that go with it. Reimagining a positive feeling is a powerful tool that can increases coherence of the brain and heart, creating emotional stability and facilitating a state of calm.
Revise and repeat
If you find yourself writing the same things that is OK but try to hone in on a different detail each time.
Consider life without
Try imagining what your life would be like without certain people or things, write down how they help you.
Count your gifts
Thinking of the good things in your life as gifts helps you to not take them for granted. Try to relish and savor the gifts you’ve received.
Start your gratitude journey today
For more information about Gratitude:The Science Behind Gratitude 8 Ways to Practice Gratitude