how to be more grateful

How to Be More Grateful (Regardless of Your Circumstances)!

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Today, I am going to share my thoughts on how to be more grateful. Practicing gratitude can help you get through the hard times in life. Grateful people are often happier because they find joy in contentment in the smallest things.

We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life from time to time. When that happens its easy to get out of touch with the things that really matter.  That’s when it’s crucial to remember how to be grateful!

Actually, we all have plenty of things to be grateful for, regardless of the circumstances in which we  may find our self.

We all have a unique list of things that bring simple pleasure, feelings of pure joy, or just a sense of comfort each day.

You can be grateful for physical blessings like where you live, the climate you reside in, or even your residence.

You might be thankful about certain people being in your life. This may include your kids, your grandma or your best friend.

The most important function of learning how to be more grateful is that it allows you to open your heart, mind, and soul to goodness, gratitude, and light.

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Not Sure How to Be More Grateful?

Use these 5 simple strategies to consciously cultivate gratitude regardless of your circumstances:

  1. Take five.

    Allow yourself five minutes each morning to experience thankfulness by using affirmations of gratitude. Take these moments to simply think about the past day. Say to yourself, “One thing I’m thankful for is___.”

    Fill in the blank with something you noticed from the last 24 hours. Think on it for a minute or so. Smile about it. Then go on with your morning. Do this often and you’ll be a master on how to be more grateful.

  2. how to be more gratefulAppreciate your world openly. Share your gratitude with others.

    For example, if you’re chatting on the phone with a friend, you could say, “I am so glad that I painted the living room that color.  It’s a beautiful light teal color. The sunlight reflects on it so nicely.” Another example is, “I went shopping with my sister yesterday. She was so helpful when I wanted to pick out a new dress.”

    When your verbal acknowledgements to others demonstrate the gratitude you feel, you’ll develop a habit of recognizing what you’re thankful for.

  1. how to be more gratefulNotice the small stuff.

    Promise yourself you won’t take little things for granted.  Truth is,  life becomes crowded with people, tasks, and objects constantly! When that happens you may feel challenged to notice small bits of wonder in your day. But if you put your mind to it, you’ll be astounded at what you see. Open your eyes to the wonders all around you. They won’t cost a dime.

    A sunset. A warm cup of tea, or an ice-cold glass of water when you get home from work. These may be small stuff, but they are all great reasons to feel gratitude. The smell of honeysuckle as you walk by the vine.  Your daughter’s impish smiles! These are all things that might remind you of your blessings. THAT’s how to be more grateful every single day!

  1. Learn to turn your thoughts around.

    When you discover you’re thinking negative thoughts, imagine a big stop sign and say, “Stop” out loud. Then, replace the stop sign with an image of something around you that you’re grateful for right at that moment. Think about that object, experience, person, or situation and bask in your positive experience.

  2. how to be more gratefulKeep a gratitude journal.

    If you find you’re having difficulty remembering to notice the things that stir your inner thankfulness, perhaps starting a gratitude journal would help.   A journal is a tangible visual aid that will trigger you to think about what you’re grateful for.

    Try just putting put the date on the page and jotting down what you’re grateful for at that time. You can write as much or as little as you wish. Place your journal in a spot where you’ll see it frequently, like on the dining room table, the kitchen counter, or near your favorite chair. This way, you’ll be prompted to experience your gratitude more often.

Being grateful is truly one of the things that makes life worth living!

Each time you consciously decide to express gratitude, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Open your eyes and mind to the people, places, things, and experiences you’re grateful for.

When you practice gratitude and mindfulness you’ll feel so much better about your life…regardless of the circumstances you may find yourself in!

15 Things to be Grateful For In Life

how to be more grateful

There are many things that can add to your happiness each day!  These simple things give you golden opportunities to learn how to be more grateful.

Here are 15 things we can be more appreciative for:

  1. The beach. Does anyone dislike the beach? Fun, sun, and water are a tough combination to beat.
  2. Dogs. No matter how much you yell at them for chewing on your shoes, they’re always happy to see you.
  3. Popcorn. How much better is a movie when popcorn is part of the deal?
  4. The sun. It would be chilly without the sun. Few things are better than a warm sunny day.
  5. Brunch. Someone else does the cooking and your options are plentiful. You can even sleep in.
  6. Finding a dollar. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, stumbling on a dollar you didn’t know you had is reason for celebration.
  7. A good hike in the woods. You gain a new perspective and might even see a squirrel or two.
  8. Good friends. Everyone needs someone once in a while. Your friends are always there.
  9. Flowers. Inside or out, flowers are beautiful.
  10. The weekend. Work can be a grind. The weekend is your reprieve.
  11. Good health. Yours and your family’s good health is worth celebrating.
  12. Clean drinking water. Much of the world’s population doesn’t have clean water or has to walk miles to get it.
  13. Electricity. Try spending an entire day without it.
  14. A hot shower after a workout. It just feels so good.
  15. The ability to see. You couldn’t enjoy this list without it.

Want to Learn How to be More Grateful?

Have you ever tried to figure out how to become more grateful? It can be more complicated than it sounds.

Our brains are usually wired to pay more attention to negative events. Hurricanes and heartbreaks create deeper impressions than rainbows and family dinners.

Sometimes, you’re just so busy that you forget about your resolutions on your way to work and don’t realize it until you’re brushing your teeth at night.

With a little help, you can make thankfulness more automatic. Try these ideas for increasing your gratitude.

Learning to Be Thankful Can Benefit You!

how to be more grateful

If you want to change your habits, it’s important to build your motivation. Keep reminding yourself of the advantages of being more appreciative. It will give you a powerful sense of purpose.

Here are some ways learning how to be more grateful will benefit you.

  • Boost your mood. Gratitude can make you happier. It increases your energy levels and reduces daily stress.
  • Enhance your wellbeing. Many studies have found a connection with physical health too. Gratitude may strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and protect you from diabetes and other chronic conditions.
  • Deepen your relationships. Expressing your thanks also helps you to bond with others. You’re likely to feel more empathetic and experience a greater sense of belonging.

How to be More Grateful and Happy

how to be more grateful

These techniques will help you to include gratitude in your everyday life:

  1. Keep a journal. You’ve probably heard suggestions about starting a gratitude journal. It can be an effective tool for staying on track and evaluating your progress. That’s especially true if you update it each day and review what you write, so you can spot patterns and reinforce positive choices.
  2. Write letters. Did your parents remind you to write thank you notes? It’s a tradition worth passing on to your own kids. Let others know how they’ve made a positive difference in your life. Tell them in person too.
  3. Minimize materialism. Being overly concerned with possessions and physical comfort makes it more difficult to feel grateful. Focus on spiritual values and personal relationships rather than retail therapy. Try to be content with what you have.
  4. Resist comparisons. Envy is another obstacle to counting your blessings. Take pleasure in fortunate events that happen to others. It will make you feel happier in the long run. Examine your feelings to see if they’re pointing to some changes you want to make in your own life.
  5. Welcome setbacks. You may even find yourself being thankful for things that seem like disappointments at first. Challenges teach us how to build character and resilience. Losses sometimes make room for new opportunities.

How to Be Grateful in Life

how to be more grateful

Work out your gratitude muscles the same way you train your body. Gradual and consistent actions help you to accomplish big goals with less stress.

  1. Reflect and pray. What does your faith teach you about being grateful? Create your own personal prayers of thanks. Explore what gratitude feels like for you.
  2. Live purposefully. Slow down and savor small miracles. Notice the beauty of nature and the kindness of strangers. Imagine what life would be like without your family or a safe place to sleep.
  3. Help others. Put your troubles in perspective by assisting others who are struggling. Volunteer at a local food bank, start a bible study, or teach English to recent immigrants.
  4. Acknowledge yourself. Saying thanks can feel awkward when you’re starting out. Warm up by practicing on yourself. Give yourself credit for eating nutritious foods and starting an at-home exercise routine.
  5. Grow older. You might like knowing that gratitude usually increases with age. You can help the process along, but time is already on your side.

Increasing your gratitude levels could transform your life. Make giving thanks part of your daily routines. You’ll be glad that you did!

How to be Thankful in Challenging Times

Life is unpredictable and often very challenging. Each day we’re faced with obstacles that test our ability to cope well with difficulties. It’s easy to get angry, scared, or resentful and forget about gratitude for the good things in our life.

If we don’t cherish and feel grateful for the good things, how can we justify wanting more of them?

Consider these 4 easy ways to become a more grateful person in challenging times:

#1 – Include an act of kindness in your day

how to be more grateful

When we’re going through a stressful or difficult period in our life, we get so self-centered and focused on self-pity that we rarely stop to think about others. This is precisely why we need to break away from this negative mindset by doing something kind.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is the most deserving of my simple act of kindness today?
  • Who has shown me support and love lately?
  • What can I do to honor their support and affection?

By being kind and generous to others, you create a greater sense of connection that generates a more positive outlook on life. You feel better about yourself.

#2 – Say thank you for the little things

how to be more grateful

When things don’t go your way and you feel like a victim of life, feeling thankful cab be extremely hard. It can become difficult to notice things to be thankful for. Yet, there are plenty of small joys around you even on the most difficult of days. You can notice them by shifting the point of your focus.

Ask yourself:

  • What kind of blessings have I received lately?
  • How can I show my gratitude for those blessings?
  • Is there someone who deserves a thank you note from me?

Always be thankful! Being able to say thank you for the small things helps you in shifting your focus from life’s challenges to life’s pleasures.

This way, your mind expands and supports you in finding solutions and ways to get unstuck and move forward.

#3 – Re-frame your negativity

how to be more grateful

Challenging times bring on lots of negativity. If you struggle for any reason, you will likely start to sabotage yourself by creating sadness, falling into despair, evoking regrets, and generating tons of unproductive negative thoughts.

Changing your perspective is the best way to re-frame negativity. Remember that everything in life comes in the form of duality. Nothing is purely good or bad. Look at the goodness and benefits in your current struggles and try to learn from them.

Negative thoughts only have the power to hurt you if you let them.

#4 – Keep a gratitude journal

how to be more grateful

This is likely the most popular gratitude practice. It comes with a variety of benefits, including better quality sleep, increased immunity, greater levels of resilience, and improved mood. All these benefits are needed when you’re going through a tough time in life.

To start a gratitude journal all you need is a few moments of undisturbed time, willingness to reflect, and a way to capture your thoughts (e.g. a journal, notebook, phone, laptop).

You can start by reflecting on the following questions:

  • What experiences in my life can I be grateful for?
  • What happened lately that makes me feel thankful?
  • Do I have any opportunities today?
  • What have the significant others in my life done that I am grateful for?

Writing helps you to organize thoughts and process information and experiences. It also supports you in accepting your challenging times by putting them in context.

Everyone struggles, gets stuck, and experiences difficulty. Next time you find yourself having a tough time, remember that crisis is also a wonderful growth opportunity.

Embrace the challenge, enrich it with gratitude, and you’ll experience genuine growth.

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14 Comments

  1. Living a life of gratitude makes such a difference in one’s outlook, it’s true. Great post!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Thanks for the comment Lisa. It’s amazing how something so simple could have such a big impact. Not only in our own lives ( as the grateful one), but also in the lives of the one(s) we show and express gratitude to. It’s one of the most effective “stress relief drugs” I Know, with ZERO harmful side effects. :-).

  2. So well stated, Darlene. My husband and I have a gratitude practice, and even on the tough days, we can still be grateful for things like the Public Works Department in our town, or clean running water! Noticing all of those things we take for granted is a gift. Great post.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      I LOVE that you add gratitude for things like the Public Words Department in your town to the list! I usually add our utility company staff to my list of things to be grateful for. It’s so easy to get frustrated and upset with the internet service or with power outages, but it’s easy to take them for granted when they are up and running 24/7! I am going to add the Public Works Department to my list! THANKS Shari. 🙂

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      So true Rebecca. And even if we are thankful for the “BIG” things, its so easy to take the small, every day things for granted, especially when we are going through rough times when it harder to find things to be grateful for. That’s when we risk ending up on the dark place of negativity, stress, overwhelm, and anxiety. Being grateful, especially for the small things, helps maintain a positive healthy mindset, regardless of our circumstances..

  3. Great tips! One thing that I have tried to teach my children is how to find the joy in every day. Even on the hardest days there is something to be grateful for – you may have to look for it – but it is there. Have a wonderful day!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      That’s a GREAT lesson to teach your children Char! Children are growing up in a world that is more “me-centered” that every before. They have so much materially…much more than we had when we were growing up. Which makes learning gratitude and being grateful that much more challenging for them. Teaching children to cultivate and express gratitude at a young age is a vital skill that will serve them well for their entire life!

  4. I can’t express how much I love this! My Mom always encouraged all of us to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’. “Count your blessings!” she’d say. We even sing a song in our church that goes, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed. When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost. Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!” I sing it to myself often!
    Thank you for this lovely, encouraging post!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Hi Diane, I know that song! My mom taught us from a very young age to be thankful too…for big things, and especially for small thing. And to be thankful for each other. No-matter how difficult things got, we always had each other, and that alone was reason to be thankful. As we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, keeping an attitude of gratitude will keep us grounded and help us whether the storms of life, both at work and at home! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Darlene, thanks for reminding me. I have my days when I’m down about things, but I am so blessed in so many ways. Just seeing your smiling face helps. Thanks for this.

  6. Darlene Berkel says:

    Thanks Beth. We all have days when we feel a bit down ( I know I do)! The secret is to be able to see the blessings in our lives ( whether big or small), even on those gloomy days. Just a smile on someone’s face could indeed brighten you day! :-)…and as they say… “a smile is just a frown turned upside down”. So keep smiling! You just might brighten somebody’s day! 🙂

  7. I have a Gratitude Jar that I started at the beginning of the year. Each week I put a slip of paper into with a few things I’m grateful for from the week. It’s lovely seeing it filling up and I’m looking forward to reading them all again at the end of the year. Gratitude is a huge factor in happiness and acknowledging how truly blessed we are.

  8. Darlene Berkel says:

    Great idea for a Gratitude Jar Leanne! That way as you see the jar filling up, you realize that despite life’s up and downs there is still a lot of good in your life. PLUS…you get to read them all at the end of the year and look back at the trials AND the blessings that came your way! Love that idea. 🙂

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