The Practice of Gratitude

It’s all too easy to go through your days and weeks with a focus on what’s immediately to come; there’s always an upcoming assignment or a midterm to study for. While it is second nature to just focus on getting through your current struggles, it is also important to remember that every day is an opportunity to be grateful for the blessings you may take for granted.

 

What is the practice of gratitude?

Practicing gratitude is essentially reminding yourself what there is to be thankful for, even when life feels like an uphill battle. According to a 2018 Forbes article, keeping a gratitude journal has been proven to improve several aspects of life such as mood, productivity, activity levels, and goal achievement. I personally incorporate this concept into my life by taking a few minutes before bed each night to reflect on the factors in my life I should be grateful for. This practice has truly worked for me; it not only helps to improve my mindset but it requires me to reflect on each day that passes.

 

What can we be grateful for?

It can be tough to see life in a positive manner when you run into bad luck or get bogged down with commitments. Other factors such as sickness and disability can also wear on a person’s outlook on life, but recognizing the small things you can turn your attention towards can really improve your mindset. If you’re having trouble coming up with reasons to be grateful, see the list below:        

 

1.     Your friends and loved ones

I always take time to reflect on how lucky I am to have strong relationships with those around me. It is important to reflect on times your loved ones have been there to support you.

 

2.     The progress you are making

Even if it doesn’t seem like it, baby steps still push you forward. It can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in a difficult program or going through job interviews, but it’s important to be grateful for the progress you are making!

 

3.     Basic necessities and possessions

It is easy to take basic possessions for granted. I try to remind myself that I should be grateful for items such as my laptop, expensive clothing, and car because not everyone is lucky enough to have these items.

 

4.     Your health

It seems that most people don’t truly appreciate their health until it is compromised. Being in good health is necessary for many other aspects of life; it is important to try and appreciate this rather than take it for granted.

 

5.     The lessons you’ve learned

Everyone experiences disappointments and failure. It is all too simple to view these setbacks as negative, but attempting to see the lessons that come out of failure creates something positive out of the negative.  

Gratitude is a simple concept that has improved my mindset on life substantially. Whether you choose to keep a gratitude journal, share your thoughts with a friend, or simply self-reflect, practicing gratitude is a great way to appreciate the life you are living and take the most from every experience.