Expressing the gratitude we receive is what we learned from childhood, but how much we think about the impact of gratitude on us and others as well as how we can show gratitude in different ways. Here, we will focus on 4 effective ways to express gratitude daily.
While some consider gratitude as a trait behavior and some consider it to be a mood or emotion, gratitude simply can be a culmination of all three where we show a positive effect towards an external source, situation, or even process. For example, we show how thankful we are for our families, we also show how thankful we are for technology or even good weather.
The benefits of gratitude are in-depth studied by researchers and they found that there are not only individual benefits such as better physical and psychological health, increased happiness, and more. There are also social benefits of gratitude such as it inspires people to be more kind, generous, and helpful in society as well as in relationships.
Furthermore, it helps to create a more positive environment at home or workplace. Hence, it’s important to learn ways to express gratitude to help yourself as well as your close environment.
4 effective ways to express gratitude daily are:
- Appreciate everything
What needs to be understood first is that you don’t need a major event to express gratitude, as gratitude isn’t confined to only big events. Even research suggests that practicing gratitude regularly can increase life satisfaction and positive well-being. Hence, try to appreciate everything you face everyday as they help you to move forward in life. Think about the current place you are in and try to think about at least 2 things you are grateful for.
Appreciating everything also includes showing gratitude for challenges or hardships as gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. When we think carefully, difficult situations actually help us to understand what we should be thankful for and why we should be thankful for it. Try to think about one challenging event of your past and reflect on how it helped you to learn something new or shaped the current you.
- Start a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a journal dedicated to express and note down the things you are grateful for regularly. This journal can later be used anytime when you feel incompetent or negative about yourself or the world. To do this, bring out your journal and start writing everything you are grateful for today, it can include food, energy, interactions, weather, or even a small new information/ skill you learned.
If you face any difficulty in recalling them, then you can even use the following questions:
- What did you do today that you are grateful for?
- What did someone else do to you that you are grateful for?
- What did someone else do to anybody else that you are grateful for?
- What did you learn today that you are grateful for?
- What did you feel today that you are grateful for?
- What did someone else say to you that you are grateful for?
- Is there a feeling that you felt that you are grateful for?
- Are there any natural things are you grateful for today?
- Are there any sensations (that you saw / heard / smelled / tasted/felt) that you are grateful for today?
- Gratitude reflection
Reflection is an important part of self-awareness that also helps to build mindfulness. As we look into who we are and what small things we should be grateful for, we enhance our well-being.
To practice gratitude reflection, firstly, sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths to relax. Then let your awareness move to your immediate environment that includes all of your senses, such as what you can smell, taste, touch, see, hear. Then, say to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.”
Next, think about the selected people whom you are close to and care for. Now say again to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.” Next, turn your attention to yourself and think about a few uniqueness about yourself and everything that you learned or find blessed to have. Repeat again, “For this, I am grateful.” Finally, think of your life as a gift. Think about the health, culture, and access to things that you are grateful for and say to yourself, “For these, I am grateful.”
You can learn other meditation techniques here.
- Express creatively
A simple note or feedback of “Thank you” does wonders, especially in short interactions, but sometimes expressing gratitude creatively helps to show your efforts and build relationships more cohesively. To do this, you can send either written or email letters where you explain in brief what you are thankful for and how the other person’s effort made a positive change.
This furthermore inspires people that are close to you and motivates them to work on their personal goals. You can also visit someone to thank them in person by handing them or reading them your letter. Furthermore, you can try using new and creative ways to thank people as it increases the impact. Try using one of those creative methods today!
Challenges to gratitude
There’s also a couple of challenges to express gratitude. First is the “self-serving bias”, which is the tendency to say we did it when good things happen to us, but when something bad happens, we blame other people or situations. To deal with this bias, it’s crucial to give yourself some time to evaluate who all should be credited for any success or failure. Furthermore, building a habit to thank others, regardless of the outcome can help in overcoming this bias.
The second challenge is our need to feel in control of our environment or situations. To overcome this barrier, it’s crucial to build acceptance about how not everything is under our or anybody’s control and it’s okay not to have everything in control.
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Furthermore, you can set reminders to help you notify whenever you want to use your gratitude journal.