How to Become a More Thankful Person

Опубликовал Admin
24-11-2016, 09:18
Expert Reviewed In the business of day-to-day life, we often forget to stop and be grateful for the present moment. Being grateful is important, however, and has many mental and physical benefits. Research shows people who consistently express gratitude tend to have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, higher levels of positive emotions, and feel less lonely overall. If you want to work on being more grateful, try shifting your focus throughout the day. Work on practicing mindfulness, which can help you appreciate the present moment. You should also find a balance, allowing yourself to feel grateful without ignoring problems or negative emotions.

Being Grateful Throughout the Day

  1. Give thanks each morning. If you want to work on being a more thankful person, work on setting the tone for gratitude when you wake up. Pause before getting out of bed and take a moment to be thankful for the ability to live another day.
    • Instead of dreading the coming day, view it through a lens of gratitude. If you have to go to work, be grateful you have a job. If you typically dislike waking up in the morning, try to be grateful for your warm bed and good night's rest instead of groaning about getting out of bed.
    • Take stock of all you have to be thankful for before hopping out of bed. Who do you have that cares about you? What do you have to look forward to today, even small joys and pleasures? This will set the tone for gratitude for the remainder of the day.
    • Take a few moments to look at the big picture as well. You may not have the best apartment in the world, but you have a roof over your head. Your job may not be part of your 10 year plan, but you have money coming in and a sense of purpose each day.
  2. Be on the lookout for positives. If you want to be more grateful, you'll have to work on consciously embracing the good in each day. Place more focus on happy moments than setbacks or inconveniences. This can help you become a more thankful person.
    • Make a mental list of every pleasure you encounter. You'll be surprised how much you've been missing. Did you get to listen to a song you love on your iPod on your morning commute? Did a co-worker compliment your outfit? Did the office smell good that morning because someone was brewing fresh coffee?
    • Later, examine why these things were important to you. If you want, you could write them down on scrap paper shortly after they occur. Title the event something like, "Heard Great Song on my iPod." How did this moment make you feel? How do you feel remembering it? If you experience negative emotions later during the day, try to return to those small positives and remember the feeling.
  3. Express your gratitude. Expressing your appreciation can make yourself and others more aware of it. Try to talk about your sense of gratitude throughout the day.
    • Expressing gratitude does not have to be a big, sweeping gesture. Send someone a quick text message to thank them for listening to you talk over a problem the other night. Leave a note in your office's kitchen thanking Jenny for always remembering to bring in fresh coffee grounds. Write down positive statements on post-it notes and leave them in public places.
    • Do not censor yourself. Oftentimes, people worry about coming off as too positive or happy-go-lucky. However, you'll feel happier and less stressed if you express gratitude for the little things, even if they feel silly. If you're genuinely grateful that half a cup of coffee was left in the office coffee pot in the morning, say so.
  4. Practice mentally subtracting relationships. A good exercise to help with gratitude is imaging your life without a loved one. While this might sound sad, this activity can actually help foster positive feelings of thankfulness. It forces you to consider the benefits of your relationship with another person.
    • Take a moment and think of an important relationship in your life. This could be a friend, a significant other, or any other person you value. Get a piece of paper and pen or pencil and write down that person's name.
    • How did you meet this person? Consider circumstances that would have prevented you from meeting this person. For example, maybe you never went to that party in your dorm sophomore year. Maybe you never took that part-time job at the ice cream shop the summer after graduating high school. Write down any events, decisions, or circumstances that could have occurred to prevent you from meeting this person.
    • How would your life have been different had you not met this person? Think about big changes as well as small ones. Think of all the various happy memories and benefits that have come from knowing this person. Imagine how your life might have been different without all these moments.
    • Remind yourself that you did meet this person. Therefore, you did experience all the joys, benefits, and happy moments you've been mentally subtracting. Feel thankful that this person is in your life.
  5. Relish small pleasures. Linger over small pleasures and try to savor the aftertaste. Take five seconds to close your eyes and remember the smell of coffee as you sit down to your desk. Smile as you remember your co-worker's compliment. Don't just observe the good. Work actively to embrace it.
    • Take mental photographs of things that make you happy. Submit things to memory, like the beautiful view of downtown you see from your office window.
    • Congratulate yourself, even for tiny accomplishments. Appreciate that you got out of bed this morning without hitting snooze or that you arrived to the office 5 minutes early.
    • Try to appreciate beautiful moments completely. Tune out your consciousness when you encounter a moment that's enjoyable. For example, when you drink your morning cup of coffee just focus on the coffee, its taste, its warmth. Try to prevent your mind from wandering to the coming day and all that you have to do. Just remain in the present and relish the moment.
  6. Keep the brevity of life in mind. It sounds strange, but being aware of death can actually help with feeling thankful. The fact that death will happen to everyone is the single biggest reminder that you should be grateful for the moment. When you're feeling frustrated, think of death and take this as a reminder that you should try to appreciate and treasure every moment.
  7. Be thankful for your body and its movements. Your body is something you may take for granted. Many people focus on their frustrations with their body's limitations. You may, for example, want to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve your proficiency at a physical talk like running. Instead of lamenting your body's limitations, try to embrace its strengths.
    • Appreciate how your body moves when you exercise. Good health, and the freedom to work out, is something people often take for granted. Even if you can't run a mile as quickly as you want to ideally, be grateful you're able to run. Be thankful that you have the resources and ability to care for your body and mind through regular exercise.
    • Even be thankful for simple movements. Be grateful for each step as you walk to the bus stop. Pay attention to the beating of your heart and rising and falling of your breath. When doing so, be grateful that your body still functions as it should.
  8. Write it down. Journaling your gratitude can help greatly. By writing the information down, it becomes visible to you. You'll be able to review all that you have to be grateful for.
    • Be as specific as possible when recording your gratitude. Do not say, "I'm thankful for my mom." Instead, consider why you're thankful for your mom. For example, "I'm thankful that my mom called to check in today because she knew I was sick with the flu last weekend."
    • Try to list a few things and go in depth. Instead of challenging yourself to remember 10 moments you're grateful for, list a smaller number but go into detail. Record what happened, how it made you feel, why you appreciated it, and how your day would have been different without this moment or person.
    • Keep up journaling regularly. Aim to make a habit of journaling your gratitude 1 to 3 times a week. If it helps, make a schedule for yourself. For example, you could commit to journaling Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
    • You can also share this experience with others. Consider asking a friend if she wants to start exchanging texts each night before bed in which the two of you list what you're grateful for that day.

Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Practicing mindfulness can be a great way to be a more thankful person. It forces you to be aware of the present moment, allowing you to be more grateful of yourself and your surroundings. The first step to practicing mindfulness is making a conscious effort to be more aware throughout the day.
    • Notice each moment. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells, noises, and other aspects of each moment of the day. Try to tune in to day-to-day moments that often seem to go by without notice, such as waiting for a bus or downtime in the office.
    • Recognize your thoughts and emotions. Allow them to pass through without the need to define and analyze them. Simply allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without judgement or criticism.
    • Pay attention to the physical sensations of your body. How does the shirt you're wearing feel against your skin? How does your body feel sitting in a desk at school or a chair in your office? How do your fingers feel as you type something on a keyboard?
  2. Walk mindfully. Walking is an activity people often take for granted. If you want to be more thankful throughout the day, try focusing on walking and the motion of your body. Try to truly embrace the experience of walking.
    • Pay attention to how your body in movement. How do your feet feel as they touch the ground? How do your socks or shoes feel against your feet? Is there any wind against your face? How does your skin feel? How does your breathing change when you walk? Your heartbeat?
    • Pay attention to what's going on around you at the moment. What's the weather like as you walk to the bus stop? What does it smell like outside? Inside? What colors and shapes do you see? Do you see other people? What are they wearing, doing, saying?
    • Look for the positives as you walk. Make a mental note of every small beauty or pleasure you encounter, like a nice smell or scene. Do not just let these things slip past. Pause each time you encounter something enjoyable and allow yourself to fully experience the moment of pleasure. Try to ignore other thoughts or worries and just allow yourself to experience the moment fully.
  3. Eat mindfully. Food is one of the biggest things people take for granted. If you have a busy schedule especially, eating becomes a quick act of necessity. Eating mindfully means creating more of a ritual around eating and striving to appreciate your food.
    • When you eat a meal fast, or while doing other things, you're less likely to feel nourished. When you eat, just eat. Do not try to eat while working, watching television, reading, or engaging in any other activities. Eat at a table instead of at your office desk or in front of the television set.
    • When you eat, pay attention to eating. Pay attention to the flavor and texture of food. Listen to the sound of crunching and chewing. If your mind wanders to something else while you're eating, try to return your focus to your food.
    • Don't just pay attention to the sensations of your food. Pay attention to your body's sensations. When you feel hungry, where do hunger pains occur? How do you know when you're feeling full? What does it feel like to be half full? Three quarters full? Try to listen to your body and pay attention to its needs.
  4. Focus on the breath. Mindfulness is also about paying attention to your breath. Breathing is a vital bodily function that we often do not notice throughout the day. Start making a conscious effort to focus on your own breathing.
    • Breathing is a natural process that follows a certain rhythm. Therefore, when our minds wander and stressful thoughts occur, focusing on the breath can help us stay calm. It can also allow us to return to the present moment and appreciate it.
    • If you find yourself plagued with negative thoughts pause for a moment and appreciate the fact you're breathing. Pay attention to how your breath rises and falls. See how deeply you are breathing. Close your eyes for a few minutes and just treasure your breath and the moment.
  5. Practice loving kindness meditation. Loving-kindness meditation is a form of meditation in which expressing gratitude and good will towards yourself and others is key. It's a great way of practicing mindfulness as well as being a more thankful person.
    • Find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes and imagine what you wish for your life. Think of three or four phrases that sum up your core desires. For example, you might come up with something like, "May I be happy in my pursuits. May I have good health. May I be calm and patient throughout the day."
    • Say this prayer for yourself. Then, direct it outwards. Direct it towards someone you are thankful for in your life. For example, "May my mother be happy in her pursuits. May my mother have good health..."
    • From there, direct it towards someone you feel neutral about, like a co-worker you do not know particularly well. Repeat the mantra using their name.
    • Then, direct the mantra to someone you have animosity towards, like a family member who has hurt you or a co-worker who belittles you. This can help you let go of some of your anger and resentment. You may also feel empowered by sending good thoughts to someone even if that person treats you poorly.
    • Lastly, direct the mantra towards a more universal goal. For example, "May all living things be happy in their pursuits. May all living things have good health. May all living things be calm and patient throughout the day."

Finding the Balance

  1. Be willing to address problems. While gratitude is important for a happy life, some people use it as an excuse to ignore large problems. Finding the balance with thankfulness means being able to acknowledge problems while still being grateful for what you have.
    • Thankfulness can allow you to disengage with small annoyances. However, not all problems are minor. If you're facing serious obstacles, it's good to focus your energy on the positives you have in life. This can provide temporary relief. Just keep in mind this relief is only temporary and you still have to take active steps to address your problems.
    • It may sound strange, but be thankful for negative emotions. Things like stress, anger, and sadness do serve a purpose. If you're angry about the way your brother acts when he's drinking, this might motivate you to talk to him about his relationship with alcohol. If you're stressed about the payments you owe on your credit card, this might encourage you to try to stick to a monthly budget. Negative emotions can be productive as they often serve as a warning. Try to be grateful for things like stress, anger, and sadness and react to these emotions in productive ways.
  2. Do not confuse gratitude with indebtedness. You can be grateful for someone in your life without feeling you owe that person anything. Gratitude also does not equate to indebtedness. People sometimes confuse the two in a way that causes personal problems. #*If someone helped you in the past, it's okay to be grateful to that person. However, just because your brother helped you out of a financial crunch two years ago does not give him license to insult you at this year's Thanksgiving. It's important to be grateful, but don't view gratitude as a debt that needs to be paid off.#*You can be grateful for bad situations. In fact, it can be healthy to look for silver linings in bad moments. For example, you can be thankful your partner cheated on you as if gave you the opportunity to realize you deserve better. However, do not take that realization as a sign you owe your partner something. Allow yourself to learn the lesson and then move forward.
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