We often feel depressed and overwhelmed because of the daily stresses of life or simply if life isn’t going how we had hoped or planned. During these times, we need reminders that help us feel better about the good things in our lives. If we take time to be present and aware, we will likely notice things in our life that are positive and feel gratitude for them. So, how can we acknowledge positive things and practice gratitude?
Firstly we need to be aware of our self-judgments which cause negative thinking. Self-judgments can often cause us to think pessimistically. We often think that we don’t deserve to be happy or we always have bad luck. These type of thoughts prevent us from thinking rationally and we are unable to recognize the positive things in our lives. After we realize that we are judging ourselves negatively we need to shift our mindset and be more positive. We need to constantly remind ourselves when we wake up “Today I will focus on positive events around me and look at the bright side!”. This helps us to get rid of the negative voice in our heads and avoid self- judgments!
We also need to practice mindfulness because it helps us to become aware of our thoughts, observe the positive things with our full attention and has more reasons to be thankful. For example, we can feel the sun on our face, hear the music in a restaurant, enjoy the taste of a cup of tea etc. All these things bring us more gratitude and happiness!
The final and more concrete way of practicing gratitude is writing a gratitude list. This can be practiced daily or when a reminder is needed. The list could involve big things, like getting a new job or being grateful for a best friend, or small things like being grateful for a nice healthy dinner, or the beautiful weather. Writing down what we are grateful for really helps us shift our mindset and start to appreciate all the positives in our lives that we have, instead of focusing on the negative and what we are lacking.
However, it’s really important not to force ourselves into a mindset of gratitude. Rather, we allow gratitude to show itself to us by practicing awareness and acceptance of what is by using the tips above! Apply them in your daily life and observe how thinking in this way increases your happiness and pleasures in life.
Now, think about what you have in your life to be thankful for. Close your eyes and try to remember every detail, no matter how small or big they are and feel the gratitude that is created by these good things!
Join our mindfulness living programs at LifeCo to realize and be thankful for what we have.