It is very well quoted by Ferris Bueller that, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
It is very difficult to find something to be grateful for or appreciate in difficult times. Everything seems to come to a halt and is very unpredictable. But it is during these times that the concept of gratitude is especially crucial.
It's widely questioned as to how being grateful can alter lives. Here are some key points to keep in mind.
What is gratitude?
Robert Emmons, a well-known psychologist defined it as the ability to recognise the goodness of life, which is due to the surroundings as well as the actions of another person or a group of people. It is the simplest act of being thankful or appreciating what you have instead of focusing on what you don't.
Research exclaims that positive emotions like gratitude are well connected to the health and wellness indicators. Not only do they promote happiness but also assist in coping up with uncertainty by focusing your mind on the things in life that you value. It also makes us realise the things that are in our control and what we can give back to others.
To help you on your gratitude journey, here are a few ways to have more gratitude in your daily life.
Don’t be picky: appreciate everything
Gratitude doesn’t only mean appreciating the big things. The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating all the good things in life, whether big or small and also recognising that there is nothing too small to be grateful for.
Even if it is as simple, and subtle as appreciating the clear weather or how daily the milkman comes and delivers milk or being thankful for something as trivial as a fresh cup of coffee, or the perfect parking spot. It can help you elevate your mood. This will train your mind to see more of good rather than bad. By appreciating the smaller things you start noticing that your life is not that bad and in fact, you do have things to be grateful about.
Find gratitude even in your challenges
Gratitude is not only about being thankful and feeling blessed for positive experiences. There is a need to shift perspective, thinking about solely the negative experiences or hurdles will only keep you spiralling in that circle. So learn to find good even during challenging times. Keep up the approach that “what is it trying to teach me?” and be grateful for such lessons.
This can be done by sitting down daily and thinking about three to five things that you are grateful for. In this, you need to picture the things that you are grateful for in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this regularly will rewire your brain to keep focusing on the things that you’re grateful for, and you’ll start feeling the required change in the human body.
Keep a gratitude journal
This could be done after the mindfulness session, wherein you have to write down the positive thoughts. Maintaining a journal of all of the things you are thankful for will help you create a record of all the positives in life. One can refer back to the journal on a regular schedule which could be weekly or monthly. This allows you to be reminded of the things for which you were grateful. This way, when you're feeling down or going through a particularly rough patch, you can reflect on the things that previously brought a smile to your face.
Another option is to use social media to post affirmations or even post-it notes on the mirror to express gratitude.
For many, gratitude means just giving back to others in the local community. This only means one is being appreciative of his or her blessings. Through this one can have direct contact with people who may not be blessed with things, which we often take for granted. You can join and work for various NGOs so that one can be appreciative of the things you are blessed with.
Look out for patterns and practice them more often
As and when you reflect, you will notice patterns, which bring you happiness. This will help you in making the most out of them.
For instance, if you are regularly thankful for something in nature, getting outside, do more of that to balance the hormones. If you're regularly thankful for time spent with friends, make sure you do it at least once a week as it will bring you joy and increase your sense of gratitude.
There is no doubt that coping with the pandemic is very challenging. But keep reminding yourself that life will return to normal. It's high time that we all try to look on the bright side during these testing times. This will be beneficial for both your mental and physical health. Tapping into gratitude can help you solve problems and be more creative. Make sure you are stopping to think about what you're grateful for right now. Doing so can help you cope with COVID-19 and boost your mood in the longer run. You can access the self-help content available in our curated content library to learn more about being grateful. You can even reach out and drop a message in HappiCHAT whenever you feel like venting and sharing your feelings.