In this article, we’ll look at 5 ways to grow gratitude every day. And, how developing your gratitude attitude will enhance your life as well as of those around you. Plus, it’s fun!
Many define gratitude or gratefulness as that warm feeling you experience with a sense of appreciation or thankfulness. It’s an intentional focus on the positive and recognizing that others or God himself has blessed you with good things. Being grateful regularly tends to create positivity because the good in a situation is accentuated as opposed to the bad. We’ll take a look at these things and find some practical ways to add a new habit to our lives.
What gratitude isn’t
Ungrateful people don’t say thank you and don’t recognize when someone blesses them with their time or a gift. They might be in a state of entitlement and believe people owe them and therefore don’t need to be appreciative. Whatever the reason, these people don’t include thankfulness in their lifestyle.
We ‘ve all found ourselves in this mentality at least temporarily. In fact, your current situation might tempt you to focus mostly on the negative rather than the positives. There is definitely ‘social proof’ that it makes sense to complain at times. Everywhere you turn, there are reasons to gripe! You can find them on Facebook, on the news, on Twitter, and even talking with friends and family. Although it makes sense, is it helpful?
Our human hearts need to remove the toxicity that builds from all the bad news. Whether personal or global, the burden of all of that reality needs shedding at times. When we’re injured, we feel pain, and that pain needs relief. However, if we allow the pain to linger, it can fester into bitterness. Of course, I’m not talking about a life-altering crisis. Those situations need to be handled in a deeper way and maybe even on a professional level. Remember, God is especially near us when we’re at the bottom and even during the everyday challenging times. Psalm 34:18
Ways to Grow Your Gratitude
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If you’ve decided it’s time to practice gratitude, here are some actions you can take to cultivate the beauty in your life (think sun, watering, feeding). Or, you might focus on eliminating the negative flow of information and conversation (pulling out the weeds and killing the bugs!) in your gratitude garden. Therefore replacing the negatives with the positives. And the results for both gardens should be extremely rewarding.
1. Morning Gratitude with Coffee or Tea
If you’re in the habit of having a morning quiet time, you are probably already practicing morning gratefulness! If you haven’t quite embraced a morning quiet time yet, spending a little time being grateful goes very well with a hot cup of coffee or tea. You’ll want to keep your growing list in a journal or planner. I love the Prayerful Planner (that’s my link with a discount if you want to check them out)…it has a section to collect 2 or 3 grateful items every single day.
The morning is a powerful time to bring good things to the front of your mind. As you look ahead to what’s coming up for the day, you can allow your mind to enjoy all the many items on your gratitude list. There have been several times after I’ve primed the pump with a few thankful things, that the faucet starts flowing freely with lots more. And, all of that has a tendency to start the day off exceptionally strong.
2. Stop and Smell the Roses
One way you can practice gratitude is to slow down and intentionally think about the things around you. In a sense, being thankful is a choice. Those with a positive attitude have decided to look for the good. And, for many of those people they no longer consciously think about what it is that makes them grateful. It has become a habit.
You can start using this tip with obvious blessings in your life. Be thankful for the beautiful roses (in your garden or at the store)! And, move on to the plants that are growing around you (if you want to start with plants!) You can start with family, your home, your career, or retirement. Once you’ve mastered the obvious examples, you will want to move on to those items that need more intentional energy. The less obvious matters in your life like your food, clothes, friends, your car, or maybe a book club can grow your gratefulness as well.
Those are all obviously positive features of your life. What about the negatives? What do you do with those thorny bushes? You can do the ‘grateful switch’. When you observe something you’re not initially thankful for, think of a related reason to be grateful. For example, when you look at your closet and can’t find anything to wear, stop and consider what in that closet you are thankful for (not the best example, but you get the idea). If you’re leaning toward complaining or pessimism, look inside that thing and search for a positive within. What about that person do you love that you can focus on rather than dwelling on the irritating habits you see?
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3. It’s a Habit
Many healthy pursuits can swing your negative needle back to a positive. We’re chatting about a powerful one right now, and that’s our helpful friend, gratitude. It takes a small amount of energy to lean towards gratefulness. But, that little choice could result in its most life-changing effects. Especially if it isn’t a once in a while responsive action, but an ongoing daily habit.
Developing a habit to grow gratitude, therefore, can change your overall view of life and even the day-to-day hard situations in your personal life. This habit takes some cultivation. Visualize putting in a new spring flowerbed, which might not be hard if that’s one of the projects you’ve been working on lately!
Whether you’re starting with small plants or seeds, you are basically starting from scratch. You’re hoping the flowers will germinate, live, and flourish so that you’ll be able to enjoy them later in the spring and on into the summer. But, like any habit, regular tending and care will ensure a robust and positive result. And, in this case, a beautiful flower garden with colorful, fragrant stems ready for cutting.
4. The Grateful List
This tip is practical and as simple as keeping and pad of paper and a pencil nearby. Or, the Notes section on your phone is ready. Make a list of all the things. Sort them if you want. But, read the list regularly, especially when you’re feeling crummy about anything.
Being thankful can turn into praise can turn into joy. Having your Grateful List nearby could easily change your life! Check out the free download below. The Gratitude Guide is a wonderful start to an attitude of gratitude.
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5. Nightime Thanks
When your day is done and you’re relaxing, consider doing a grateful reflection of the day. Journal all the things that happened, the things you realized you’re grateful for, and the people whom you can thank God are in your life.
Putting your gratefulness down on paper or on your phone is a compelling strategy for a couple of reasons. First of all, writing tends to lodge the memories of the words in our brains, and second, the lists can be positive attitude builders when we look back at them. Either way, when we keep our thankfulness at the front of our minds and consciousness, we are more likely to grow the habit of gratitude.
Besides having some pleasant warm feelings from being grateful, what else can you expect? What are the benefits of living in a state of gratitude?
Here are a few that come to mind as possibilities:
#1 Grateful people are likely to enjoy a better night’s sleep.
#2 People who grow gratitude might experience overall better health. (A merry heart doeth good like a medicine! Proverbs 17:22)
#3 Gratefulness helps us focus on all we have to be thankful for, thus flipping the switch from negative to positive.
#4 With this habit, you’ll begin noticing the lovely, colorful blooms of joy and faith, and trust that God’s got you and that He is able to do more than we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
#5 Plus, self-esteem levels have been known to increase once individuals realize they have enough and they are enough!
If you’re interested in other healthy habits, please check out this post called Stress-Relieving Hobbies to Calm Your Heart.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Thank you for staying til the end! I pray you’ve gathered a few nuggets along the way to enrich your daily life.
Below is one of many Bible verses that focuses on gratefulness Philippians 4:6-7. Another really great one is Psalm 145:18. “When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness overflows. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promise to be near us when we cal.”l
If you’d like to look at Gratitude from a Psychology Today perspective, here’s a short, concise, and helpful article to do just that. (It’s really great!)
Remember that growing your gratitude is similar to growing a garden. The care and tending of a garden are similar to growing gratitude as a part of your everyday life. A part of who you are. Faith naturally weaves through thankfulness and the growth of gratitude with so many scriptures that encourage it.
I’m guessing God knows how much happier we’ll be when we’re thankful to Him for all the people and good things in our lives He has blessed us with and loves us enough to encourage us to do just that.
Finding a new purpose in living and joy in the day-to-day was the goal when author Kathy Rowland and her entire family (adult kids and grandkids) moved from the PNW to Texas several years ago. The focus of Quiet Hollow is to encourage ‘next chapter women’ – those who are retired, empty-nesters, or have found themselves without a spouse to jump back into life. And, she shares multiple tips, ideas, and possibilities toward that end. Kathy completed her almost 30 years as an elementary teacher and hopped into over a decade of volunteer work, side hustle-type businesses, and grandchild care before discovering her unique and fulfilling purpose for the next chapter of life. What you read on Quiet Hollow is a large part of that calling. Another part is the happy life she’s leading in Central Texas in the same neighborhood as the 3 big kids and her 5 grandkids. She and her college sweetheart husband made sure to add a pool to their new Texas home, so there are lots of noisy, splashy days in their little oasis of a backyard. Come join her on Quiet Hollow in a conversation about finding and living the life you were created to live in this later stage. The chats will be full of laughter, support, faith, and inspiration to create.