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The simple way to enhance your life

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” - Henri Nouwen

The practice of gratitude has proven to have a substantial impact on the wellbeing and happiness of individuals who consistently express thankfulness for the things and people in their lives, no matter how big or small.

It is important to keep in mind that nobody’s life is perfect. We all experience negative emotions and difficult circumstances but being able to acknowledge the things you are grateful for is an important part in helping you overcome your struggles and feel content with your life.

In fact, one of the best ways to identify your gratitude is by visualizing your life without the positive events that you have experienced. By imagining the absence of these events, you will be able to develop an even stronger appreciation that they did in fact occur and are present in your life.

How you can express gratitude

In expressing gratitude, you will be able to change your perspective by focusing on the things that bring you happiness, peace, and comfort. Practicing gratitude will allow you to experience more positive emotions and celebrate life more effectively.

There are many different ways to practice gratitude in your everyday life. For those who enjoy writing, gratitude journals or letters are a great way to reflect on moments, events, people, and things that you are grateful for.

Entries or letters can be as long or short as you would like and can be about anything no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. An added bonus of writing down your thoughts is that you are able to look back on previous entries or letters in order to remind yourself of the things you have expressed gratitude for in the past.

Gratitude letters can be addressed and delivered to a person in your life or kept for personal use and sealed to be read at a later date.

If journaling isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to practice gratitude. Gratitude meditations are available online to help you set aside a small chunk of time to relax while regulating your emotions and helping you discover your gratitude.

Additionally, you can work on enhancing your gratitude by giving up a small pleasure or activity in your life, such as a hobby or treat, for a short period of time. We tend to get used to the things we enjoy, meaning that we don’t appreciate them until they are gone. Take note of your increased appreciation and gratitude once you introduce your item or activity back into your life.

Gratitude and better relationships

Practicing gratitude is a great way to maintain and strengthen the relationships in your life. Letting those around you know how much they are loved and valued is important and should be practiced as much as possible.

By being vocal about your gratitude to your friends and family members, whether you are expressing gratitude towards them or towards any aspect of your life, they too can begin appreciating the small things.

Making these simple changes is a great way to brighten up your life as well as the lives of people around you! Keep in mind that the benefits of gratitude practices aren’t immediate. A single gratitude exercise may not produce immediate results but incorporating them into your everyday life allows you to guide your thinking over time and develop a habit of expressing gratitude and thinking positively.

How you can take action:

Practice gratitude with a gratitude journal

  1. Obtain a notebook or journal where you will be able to record your thoughts. This may be an old notebook you have lying around, or something you purchased specifically for this purpose.
  2. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to write in your gratitude journal. List a couple things for which you feel grateful. These things you list can be as small or big as you want.
  3. Try to be as specific as possible in order to remind yourself of all the good things in your life that you might take for granted. This encourages gratitude.
  4. Write about people, objects, experiences, thoughts, and feelings that you are grateful for.
  5. Try not to repeat the same entries – instead, take that thing and focus on a different and more specific aspect.
  6. You don’t have to write an entry every day. Writing entries 1-3 times a week may be more beneficial. Use your gratitude journal when you feel inspired to do so, or if you are in need of a positivity boost.

To consider the dimensions of happiness and how to build a life of greater contentment, have a listen to Ep 07 The Middle Path to Happiness.

Here are some resources to help you express gratitude:

How gratitude changes you and your brain

Giving thanks can make you happier

The science behind gratitude

Gratitude practice

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