Have you ever started your morning by spilling coffee all over yourself? Maybe the entire day turned out rotten and you just couldn’t catch a break. Sure, it could have just been a streak of bad luck—but perhaps the spilled coffee actually started a chain of negative thoughts that ruined your day. What if instead of focusing on the spilled coffee, you thought of the positive? “It’s unfortunate that I spilled my coffee, but I’m grateful that I have money to buy another one.”
Practicing gratitude can have profound effects on both our mental and physical health. In fact, a study led by two psychologists found that writing about gratitude made people feel better about their lives. It even caused them to exercise more and go to the doctor less frequently than those who wrote about things that annoyed them, Harvard Health Publications reports. Mentally, gratitude can help you connect on a deeper level with others and teach you to have more love for yourself.
Here are some easy ways to add gratitude to your day:
Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal doesn’t have to be time-consuming—just a short list or a few sentences each day will do. You can update your gratitude journal any time of day, but we suggest keeping it on your bedside table and writing in it soon after you wake up each morning.
Download a gratitude app
There are lots of gratitude apps to choose from, and some have prompts to help you. Grateful: A Gratitude Journal & Private Diary provides daily prompts such as “What made you smile today?” You can even choose gratitude apps that allow you to upload photos, such as HappyFeed or Thanks Diary.
Send a note
It’s not often that we get mail—besides electric bills and coupons. Send loved ones thank-you cards or letters telling them how thankful you are that they’re in your life. If you don’t have time for a handwritten message, you can send an ecard, email or social media message.
Help your community
Find ways to volunteer in your community. Volunteering is a great way to recognize all you have to be grateful for. Did you know people who volunteer tend to have lower mortality rates and less depression later in life?
This doesn’t just mean meditation, although that’s a great way to practice mindfulness. Next time you’re eating a meal, slow down to notice all of your senses. How does the food smell? How does it taste? Being aware of the present can make you more grateful.
Read quotes about gratitude
Search Pinterest for gratitude boards, or create your own. There are also plenty of websites dedicated to inspirational quotes. You can even hang a chalkboard in your kitchen and write a new inspirational quote on it each day.
How do you practice gratitude? Share with us below!