What’s the difference between a “bad day” and an “okay day”? The answer is almost always GRATITUDE. When you’re looking for meaning in your life, thankfulness is one path to fulfillment. An attitude of gratitude isn’t going to completely erase the tough moments in your day. But it will make them easier to get through. And over time, practicing thankfulness can make a huge impact on your well-being—especially when you make it a daily habit. Here are some ideas to jumpstart your thankfulness practice.
Tuning into what’s good can instantly reboot your mood. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes, look around and take inventory of Every. Little. Thing. You love the shoes you wore today. That first sip of water after practice was *chef’s kiss*. Your friend always sends the funniest memes. Noticing the smallest things has a big impact on your day.
For some people, creating a gratitude ritual—or two—helps them stay thankful. Some people say grace before a meal. Others commit to writing in a gratitude journal every night. You can even set aside a certain day of the week to write out thank-you notes for family and friends. Creating rituals makes gratitude a habit, rather than an afterthought.
Every day, think of 3, 5 or 10 things you’re thankful for. They don’t have to be big, impressive events. You can be grateful for the meal you ate, the clothes you’re wearing, or the roof over your head. But pick a number and stick to it, every day. The more you do it, the more you’ll realize how long that list really is.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to make a thankfulness habit stick. The act of writing something down has a way of making it feel more real. You can also jot down things you’re grateful for on scraps of paper and put them in a jar. Bonus: When you’re having a particularly tough day, you can look back through your journal—or pull a note out of your jar—to be reminded of all you have to be thankful for.
Say “thank you”—to anyone and everyone, as often as you think it. It’s more than simply good manners. A habit of saying “thanks” helps you notice the good around you and helps others feel valued. You’re boosting your mood and the mood of everyone you meet. It’s a win-win that never gets old.
No, we’re not talking about mushy, romantic, over-the-top declarations. Leave a note in the kitchen thanking your mom for dinner. Send a quick text to your best friend. Write your teacher a short message of thanks on your homework. If you’re not into journaling, this is another way to stay thankful—and pass the good vibes on to others.
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