There are many different ways to express gratitude—be it a quick thanks, a heartfelt card, or maybe a favor in return. No matter how you express it, being mindful of the moments when you feel gratitude can rewire your brain for the better. Research has found that simply feeling grateful, even if you don’t necessarily share those feelings with anyone, can boost your mental health in the long run and have lasting effects on the brain. Furthermore, expressing and accepting gratitude from others can strengthen you relationship and your overall sense of well-being.
Here are four ways to train your brain to practice more gratitude:
1. Take time to notice what’s around you
Practicing mindfulness helps you tune in to the present moment. It is possible that if you are a grateful person, you are more mindful of others’ gestures. The more often you tune into your awareness, the greater the chances you will notice all the good that’s around you to feel gratitude for, which can then bring satisfaction and happiness. Our ability to pick up on the beauty of nature, kindness from one another, the chance to make a living via a job, all require our ability to be cognizant of ourselves and our surroundings. Being mindful of help in the kitchen, or the color of the sky allows us to generate gratitude by simply noticing them.
2. Practice gratitude for the little things
We often remember to be grateful for big events, like graduating from university or getting married, but it can be more difficult to feel grateful for the small things we do every day. Reminding yourself that eating a meal, for example, is in itself special can be very powerful. Your immediate awareness of the food in front of you, combining flavors while removing hunger, is a great way to enjoy gratitude as often as you eat! Another example is feeling grateful in the morning for being able to comfortably sleep at night. We gain comfort, satisfaction and peace by practicing mindfulness and gratitude in this repeated fashion.
3. Share your gratitude for your loved ones
Most of us are a little bit guilty of taking our loved ones for granted. The next time you notice a kind act by a loved one, why not show gratitude by simply saying ‘thank you’ or giving a hug? We ought to show appreciation and not let kind acts go unnoticed. Training yourself to show your gratefulness for loved ones can strengthen your relationships with others.
4. Spread gratitude via your social media platforms
Social media can feel so negative at times, but using it to share your gratitude can help create a more positive online atmosphere. For example, share an uplifting moment from a recent event or a lesson you learned from a book you read, or a photo of a place near you that you’re grateful for. Spreading good, and in a unique and uplifting way, is one way we each can do our part in this digital age to remind each other that we have a lot to be grateful for. Let us each inspire one another in this way.
Training our minds to practice gratitude more often is possible if we are mindful of ourselves, each other and our environment. Let us widen our circle of appreciation. Please share your ideas for reminding yourself to be grateful.