Get into the Gratitude Groove
Want to change your brain for the better? Try gratitude.
The art of practicing gratitude is just that – an art. It’s not always easy to feel thankful, especially when things aren’t going your way.
But oddly enough, an attitude of gratitude might be what the doctor ordered. Not only does being thankful lead to a higher rate of contentment in your everyday life, but it assures better sleep and even brings down levels of depression through the production of dopamine in the brain.
But rewiring brain neurons sometimes takes some effort, especially if you’re already having a bad day. How can you get into the gratitude groove when you’re not feeling it?
1. Appreciate the little things. When life is particularly overwhelming, sometimes the only gratitude that we can genuinely feel is for the small things. And that’s just fine. Taking time to be thankful for that cup of coffee, or that you got that great parking space might not seem like much but acknowledging them will do wonders for your mood.
Spending your day looking for small things to appreciate has the interesting effect of making you notice the bigger picture items you can be grateful for as well.
2. Stop worrying about what other people have. If you feel like you can’t be grateful because someone else has it better, then your focus is in the wrong place. Who cares what your neighbor has? Be grateful for what you have.
3. Keep a gratitude journal. If you’re having trouble finding things to be grateful for, then make a practice of writing down the things for which you’re thankful. Why? First, by writing things down, you find them easier to remember.
But second, you’re creating a record that you can look at to remind yourself that you do have many good things in your life.
4. Donate. Whether giving your time or resources, nothing makes for gratitude like helping someone else and seeing their appreciation. You might even find new things to be grateful about as well – like your ability to help, or perhaps you have a talent or skill you’re able to share.
That makes this a win-win all the way around.
5. Make gratitude habitual. Try setting a time to be grateful. Before bed, you can list great things that happened today. Or maybe you’d prefer to start your day in gratitude. Whatever the case, getting into the mindset of daily gratitude will help you to keep on the lookout for things for which you should be grateful.
The gratitude groove is a lot easier to get into than you think. You start simply by being thankful for the things you have in your life, and the rest grows from there.