If you Google “gratitude,” you’ll get links on the benefits of being grateful. True enough, the good things about practicing gratitude are nearly endless. Not only does it help you to have more positive emotions, but it also helps you feel more alive, sleep better, build a stronger immune system, and express compassion and kindness.
Another plus about gratitude is that you can be thankful for anything—from big things such as a promotion, or something small as a piece of a pie. Yes, being grateful can significantly increase our well-being and life satisfaction—things that are much-needed in times like this when we are dealing with disasters such as a pandemic and a series of typhoons. (Read: How This Woman Copes With Her Lung Disease, One Grateful Day at a Time)
Still, with all these benefits, the motivation to practice gratefulness can be hard to find especially in times of difficulty. So here, My Pope gives you three tips on how to start—and maintain—gratitude!
Tips to Be Grateful: Notice New Things Everyday
Being grateful for the same things every day can be tiring. So the best way is to notice new things that you’re grateful for every day. (Read: We ask My Pope readers, “What’s your miracle story?”)
You might say “but I’m thankful for my family every day,” and that’s perfectly fine. But perhaps you can be more specific about what you’re grateful for about them—your daughter made you a warm cup of choco this morning, or your brother helped you out with the groceries. Stretch yourself beyond the great stuff in front of you. Open your eyes to more great and new things each day.
Tips to Be Grateful: Plan Your Gratitude Practice
Sometimes we get too excited about building a certain habit that we tend to forget about other factors that may get in the way. And when we see that our schedule can’t really accommodate what we have in mind, we fumble and lose interest. (Read: 5 Easy Ways for a Sustainable Lifestyle)
In practicing gratitude, we have to be optimistic and realistic about the difficulties of starting a habit. Recognize and plan for the obstacles that may get in the way, and set a schedule that best avoids it—perhaps you may be too tired at night to write on your gratitude journal, so set a few minutes to do it in the morning instead.
Tips to Be Grateful: Focus on People Instead of Things
Human beings are social creatures. And one of the greatest determinants of our happiness is our relationships. Focusing on being grateful for people rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits of your gratitude practice. (Read: On Mental Health: How to be a Light in the Dark)
Write a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you but you have never properly thanked. Share your day’s gratitude over dinner with friends or family—this is another reason to give thanks, right?