Having gratitude allows you to appreciate what you have right now, instead of always searching for something bigger, or better in the hopes that it will make you happier.
When you focus in on the things that make you feel alive, fulfilled and happy, you automatically radiate positivity that will attract so many good things from the universe. This is a shift in consciousness that will not only help to heal you but also the world around you. Being grateful is such a simple practice and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Gratitude is the ultimate gift you can give yourself and others, it’s one of the most powerful tools you can practice and it doesn't cost you a cent. Having a gratitude attitude has the power to completely change your life for the better, and all you have to do is cultivate a daily gratitude practice.
Read on to find out exactly how you can be more grateful and what you can do every day to make your life more beautiful.
What Does “Attitude of Gratitude” Mean?
Having a gratitude attitude is about feeling the emotion of appreciation for what you have in your life. It’s recognising the value of what surrounds you, separate to monetary worth. It’s an affirmation of pure goodness, and It comes from the deepest part within you.
It’s about acknowledging the source of where this goodness comes from, whether it’s from a person, or people, or a much higher divine power.
As Robert Emmons, the world's leading scientific expert on gratitude, explains:
“We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others: We acknowledge that other people — or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset — gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Being grateful is about finding beauty in the seemingly small things in the mundanity of life, or appreciating what you do have in moments of darkness.
It’s celebrating what is, and acknowledging what was, before striving for what’s next.
It moves us from lack, limitation and fear, into expansion, awareness, happiness and love. It eradicates negative emotions and magnifies the positive ones.
A gratitude attitude communicates to the universe that you appreciate all you have and that you’re open to receiving more. It’s your very own superpower that will only fill your life with more prosperity and wholeness. This attitude of gratitude is your path to a healthier and happier version of your innermost being.
What are the Benefits of Gratitude?
You may be wondering, ‘Why is an attitude of gratitude important?’
The benefits of gratitude are countless, and once you understand its importance in your life you won’t want to look back. In many scientific studies, including research by Robert Emmons, they found that people who practice gratitude consciously and consistently, experience a much greater state of physical health and emotional well-being than those who don’t.
These benefits include:
- Gratitude increases physical health - studies have shown gratitude to strengthen the immune system, reduce symptoms of illness, help lower blood pressure and be less troubled by aches and pains. It will encourage you to exercise more and look after your health. It also helps you to sleep better and longer, and feel more refreshed upon waking.
- Gratitude enhances psychological health and well-being - having a gratitude practice immediately creates higher levels of positive emotions such as feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, inspiration, hope, love etc. It’s also seen to increase happiness and fulfilment in life and reduce anxiety and depression.
- Gratitude strengthens social connections - having a gratitude attitude makes your relationship with others stronger. It brings you closer and makes you feel more connected to your loved ones. It helps you to feel less lonely and isolated, which in turn makes you more outgoing. You become more forgiving and compassionate, and it will make you want to give and help more, whether it’s a neighbour or a charity.
Gratitude is a key manifesting tool. In order to attract more of what you want, you first need to appreciate what you have. Such a simple, yet powerful notion.
Focusing on the good in your life has the power to uplift your mood and vibration, shifting your consciousness into a state that allows you to be more connected to your highest self.
This is when the power of gratitude and its magic is released by you.
How to Practice Gratitude
Inviting more gratitude into your life is super simple, but it does take practice and consistency. It’s not a one and done thing — it takes doing it daily, over and over again to become a habit.
We’ve compiled a list of gratitude practices to help you along your journey to more fulfilment. Choose one or a few that resonate with you and then try taking up your practice for 40 days — call it a “gratitude challenge” if you will. The philosophy behind a 40-day practice, is that this is the amount of time it takes to break old habits and form new ones.
In yoga, it’s referred to as Sadhana, which translates to dedicated practice.
If you want to completely transform your life, commit to these 40 days, and if you miss a day you need to start over, and then watch the abundance of blessings unfold.
Keeping a gratitude journal is paramount to attaining a gratitude attitude. It’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, and will immediately bring more joy into your life.
Choose a time in the day, be it the morning or in the evening before you sleep, to write down 3-10 things you are grateful for.
You may find it hard in the beginning, but as you do it more, this list will begin to flow naturally out of you. The purpose of this practice is to find joy in the everyday experience, and not take anything for granted. What you write down does not have to be big or grand — like getting a job or moving — it can be as simple as sharing a meal with a loved one, or swimming in the ocean.
Notice how you feel before you write down your gratitude list, and then take note of what you feel afterwards, consciously savouring those positive feelings.
Cultivate a gratitude attitude through intentional prayer, thanking God, Universe, Source (or whatever you acknowledge the divine as) for all you have in your life, and all you continue to receive.
Gratitude to the divine communicates that no matter what situation your life is currently in, you appreciate every single little thing. You don’t have to be religious to pray, but if it’s still not something you’re comfortable with doing, then maybe try meditating for a few minutes in silence.
Try doing this in the morning when you wake up, or in the evening before bed.
Writing a gratitude letter of thanks to someone who has helped you in some way, or made a profound impact on your life is an incredible practice.
We’re so used to thanking someone verbally, but when you write out your gratefulness, it has the potential to help not only you feel it in a much deeper way, but also the person you are giving it to.
You could also do this as a journal activity, and write a letter to the universe saying thank you for all your blessings.
With the fast-paced, consumerist world we are living in today, the best thing you can do to gain more clarity and gratefulness is slow down and take a step back to evaluate all the good in your life.
Take some time to do something for yourself — self-care is key!
This could include taking a long hot bath, getting a massage, going away for the weekend, attending a retreat or spending time in nature. It’s important to disconnect and spend time away from electronics and distractions that keep you in constant connection with everyone around you all the time.
Gratitude for the Negative
This is not a practice of dwelling on the negative, but rather looking back at the challenging times in your life, having gratitude for what you’ve overcome, and the growth you’ve received from it. This change in perspective shines a light on your strength and reminds you of how capable you are.
Practicing gratitude affirmations has the power to bring us closer to what we want to feel, even if we don't yet fully believe it to be true.
Saying affirmations over and over has the ability to sink into your subconscious and change your life.
Create your own gratitude affirmations, or look up ones that resonate with you. Write them down on sticky notes, or anywhere you will constantly see them and be reminded.
Try these ones to get you started:
- I am guided wholly and completely, love lights my path each and every day, and for this I am thankful.
- Thank you universe for supporting me and all my desires.
- I am so grateful for all I have and all I shall receive.
- Thank you universe for my healthy mind and body that allows me to live abundantly.
- I am so grateful for all the people in my life who love and support me.
- Thank you universe for all the challenges I’ve faced so far, it’s shaped who I am today, and I am thankful for the chance to evolve.
The very simple action of smiling has the power to instantly make you feel happier and more grateful.
Studies have shown that smiling can actually shift the way you feel, regardless of why you’re smiling. Smiling sends a message to your brain, which triggers and releases feel-good endorphins throughout your body.
Just smile, it’s really that easy!
A gratitude meditation will help to quieten the mind, allowing you to tune in and fully appreciate your life and all it contains.
It helps to cultivate an awareness of the present moment, and that which exists in the now.
You can sit in meditative silence on your own or listen to a guided meditation which will help prompt you on feeling grateful.
Try the below meditations to get started:
Practice mindfulness by making an effort to live in the present moment, instead of just going through the motions. Gratefulness is fostered by making a conscious and intentional effort to be mindful and present in anything you do, be it brushing your teeth, eating your breakfast, or driving to work. Make an effort to savour every moment of every experience, and be ready to feel so much gratitude you’ll be high on happiness.
One of the biggest keys to having more gratitude in your life is by giving back to others who are less fortunate. This shines a light on things you may take for granted and will show you how truly abundant you are.
Give back by finding a community project you’re passionate about, spend time at a charity or NGO, or maybe even go to the beach and pick up rubbish/feed the homeless.
There are a number of things you could do to help others — It’s just about starting somewhere.
Quality Time with Loved Ones
Spending quality time with loved ones is the ultimate way to make you feel grateful and appreciative of the people in your life. Plan a dinner, a day out, or any small act of kindness to show your love and appreciation for them being in your life. Try to consciously listen to them intently when they talk. There is nothing like giving someone your full undivided attention, which will undoubtedly bring you closer together.
Move Your Body
Moving your body through some form of exercise has been scientifically proven to boost your mood and make you feel happier. This helps to bring awareness to your body, and gratitude will naturally flow to you. The very act of being able to move your body will shift you into a grateful state. This doesn’t have to be a vigorous exercise like HITT training, try taking a walk in nature, going for a run, or doing some yoga.
Explore our Yoga for Beginners: A Definitive Guide here
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Here at Rustic Retreats, we will be hosting yoga retreats for all levels, that will also incorporate many of the gratitude practices mentioned throughout this article.
If this is something you would like to explore deeper, then learn more about our amazing Rustic Retreats Here