Sometimes we are so focused on what we want, we forget to appreciate what we have. Sound familiar? Research in positive psychology shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. It helps you to feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build stronger relationships.
Read on for 6 simple ways to cultivate the good stuff:
1) Write a thank you note: Soft or hard copy, up to you. Seize the opportunity to go beyond a perfunctory thank you email — after having been invited to a dinner party or spending time with a friend, write a heartfelt note. Maybe even write one to yourself from time to time.
2) Thank someone mentally. Too busy to write? Just think of someone who did something nice for you and send them some good vibes.
3) Keep a journal. Make it a daily habit to write down thoughts about what you are grateful for. Go from micro to macro.
4) Count your blessings. Put a time in your calendar each week to think about your blessings. Take that time to reflect on what went right. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — say 3-5 things — you find each week. Think about the way you felt when it happened and enjoy it again!
5) People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude. Try to do it with intention rather than simply reciting the words automatically.
6) Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on the breathe or a word, you could also focus on something you’re grateful for (a good workout, a hug from your child, etc)