Gratitude can genuinely make you feel better and boost your mood – that’s the power of gratitude, the power of being thankful.
Gratitude is a two-part process
- First, gratitude is about recognising the good things in your life. My local community coffee shop (this is my one! https://foxesden.co.uk/) and wow the fact I am well and healthy.
- Second, gratitude is sort of an attribution, because it didn’t necessarily have to be the case. The universe is giving you this wonderful gift that this blessing exists and it’s a moment of being truly thankful that you have it in the first place.
There’s evidence that if you regularly practice an attitude of gratitude, by taking the time to note those things that you’re thankful for, you’ll feel more positive in your emotions and about your life in general.
One way of being grateful is through the act of expressing gratitude to other people.
Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and teacher of many positive psychology methods introduced a concept of the gratitude visit.
The gratitude visit was tested with a group of people who were tasked with writing a letter of gratitude to someone who had been especially kind to them but whom had never been properly thanked by them. They were then asked to personally deliver and read out their letter to them.
People predicted that this might feel weird or awkward or take too much time. But those who received those letters found them to be one of the happiest moments of their lives! And what’s even more incredible is what happens to the happiness of those who wrote the letters. They experienced a huge boost of happiness too and not only did they get an immediate happiness lift, the impact lasted for well over a month.
All this simply through expressing gratitude to other people.
I challenge you to do the gratitude visit for yourself!
Gratitude when life is challenging
Back to being grateful when life is challenging.
Of course it’s OK to recognise when bad things are happening in your life, but you can still notice the good things that are there too. Tune into the good.
Gratitude means recognising that things are tough, but noticing that there are still good things to be found in the worst of times too.
You don’t need to write a list of the 100 things that you’re grateful for.
Start with one.
Every day, what’s one thing that you are thankful for? It doesn’t have to be some big mind-blowing thing, it can be really tiny.
A stranger smiled at you.
You found a car parking space.
You have fresh air to breathe.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself.
- What went well today?
- What was something that made me smile today?
When you begin to notice the good things in life it becomes easier to feel more grateful for them.