According to many studies gratitude plays a big role in experiencing positive emotions and increasing personal well-being. Simply expressing your gratitude on everyday basis will make you feel happier and lift your mood.
There are many ways to express your gratitude. Some of the more common ways include:
- sharing few things that you are grateful for with your family over dinner
- including gratitude in your morning or evening prayer
- making a conscious decision to express gratitude towards those that help you throughout the day
- writing a card or a letter expressing your gratitude to someone who has influenced your life in a positive way
- keeping a gratitude journal
All of these wonderful ways allow you to focus on the positive in your life and appreciate the people and things that help you and make you happy each and every day.
Three Good Things Exercise
Simply expressing gratitude is a wonderful thing. However, according to Dr. Seligman, looking a bit deeper into the gratitude you express will make it more meaningful. So here are the tree steps recommended to help you increase your positive emotions and feel happier:
- Write down three things that you are grateful for that day. See if you can think of things that don’t happen to you every day. Things that you felt were unique or special.
- For each one, write down what was your role in making it happen. Was your role passive (it simply happened to you) or was it active (you took part in making it happen, and if so, how?)
- What does this event mean to you today and / or to your future?
Answering questions two and three will make you think deeper about the event and realize many different positive things about your circumstances, the people you are surrounded by and your life in general.
Keeping Track of Your Gratitudes
In addition to expressing their gratitudes orally, many people choose to write them down. There are a few very effective ways of keeping all your gratitudes in one place to remind you on daily basis how fortunate you are.
Sticky Notes on an Empty Wall
Yes, you read it right! All you need is a whole bunch of square sticky notes. They can be plain or colorful, the choice is yours. Pair them up with some markers and you’ll have very “happy” Gratitude Notes. Now this is the best part… Find an empty wall in your room and stick the notes on the wall in rows. If you are consistent for just one week, you’ll have 21 Gratitude Notes on your wall. See if you can come up with different gratitudes each time. Your wall will look amazing and you will have a very visual and constant reminder how good your life really is.
Sheet of Paper on the Back of Your Door
This is another great way to keep a collection of gratitudes. Grab a big piece of paper and tape it to the door on the inside of your bedroom. Each day, using colorful markers, write down three gratitudes anywhere on the paper and in any direction you want. If you feel like it, you can even decorate the paper or draw little symbolic elements representing your gratitudes. Your door will look awesome and it will be a constant reminder that you do have a great life even if it may not seem that way at times.
This is probably the most common way of keeping your gratitudes in one place. If you decided to go with the Gratitude Journal, I challenge you to try the Three Good Things Exercise to deepen your gratitudes each and every day. Dedicate one page to each day and write your gratitudes in different colours and handwriting styles. If you wish, you can also add the date to the top of each page. it is really interesting to go back after a year or two to see what you were grateful for back then.
BONUS: In addition, at the end of each day, I encourage you to add one thing that you are looking forward to within the next day or week. This little addition will help you concentrate on the positive things coming your way and help you keep positive outlook for the near future.
How Do You Express Gratitude?
These are just a few examples of expressing gratitude. How do you express gratitude? I would love to hear from you in the comments.