Tips for Practicing Gratitude
Helpful and practical guidelines for practicing gratitude are outlined in Real Happiness: Proven Paths for Contentment, Peace and Well-Being, by Dr. Jonah Paquette. Keep these tips in mind as you build your practice of gratitude and adjust them to your personality and style.
Focus on People and Relationships
According to research studies, gratitude is more effective when we focus on people rather than material things or circumstances. This can help strengthen our bonds with other people, which then increases happiness. When thankfulness for material things or circumstances crosses your mind, remember that most of those circumstances came about because of human beings in one way or another. Or, your ability to embrace the thing you are grateful for may have come about because it was made possible by someone else. Or example, if you are thankful for the ability to take a shower on a regular basis, we can appreciate those who maintain water treatment facilities, those who maintain public works systems, inventors of indoor plumbing and hot water tanks, etc. Look for the human connection.
Notice the Small Things
Don’t underestimate the importance of minor or everyday events. Dr. Jonah Paquette states that noticing and appreciating small things can be critical to the growth of gratitude in our lives.
Regularly Engage in Gratitude Practices
It takes time to develop new habits. It also takes effort and patience to see the new habits have an impact on our lives. Keep at it – engage in gratitude practices on a regular basis. Find a specific time each time, perhaps the same time, in order to establish a “rhythm” of gratitude.
Don’t just stick to one way of practicing gratitude. Incorporate a few different methods of gratitude practice in your routine. By switching up your routines you’ll reap more benefits from the practice of gratitude.
Use Visual Reminders
Find ways to keep images or words posted in places where they will remind you to practice gratitude. Photos, positive words, images, or other tokens or mementos can spark your gratitude mindset. These can also serve as daily reminders of many of the things you have to grateful for.
Switch Things Up
Challenge yourself in two ways:
1. Engage in different types of gratitude practices and
2. Explore different sources of the gratitude you focus on.
If you focus on the same things over and over, you’ll diminish the impact that gratitude practice will have on your life. Consider trying not to repeat yourself when writing about things you are thankful for. Continually look for new things you appreciate. When it comes to people in your life, look for various things about them that you appreciate.
Don’t Overdo It!
Sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t helpful. It is possible to overdo it when it comes to practicing gratitude. When you choose various ways of practicing gratitude, keep in mind that some are meant to be done every day, and others are better done once a week. See the blog entry on this website concerning Gratitude Practices to help you add variety to this valuable skill.
Seek our someone who can support you in your efforts. New habits are easier to maintain when someone shares the journey with you or helps hold you accountable.
Paquette, Jonah, Psy. D. (2015). Real Happiness: Proven Paths For Contentment, Peace & Well-Being. Eau Clair: PESI, Inc.