How to practice gratitude

Gratitude can help you value what you have and quell excessive desires for more.

practice gratitude

Gratitude is an emotion — a feeling of happiness triggered by the acknowledgment and appreciation of something (outside of yourself) that positively touches, moves, or impacts you.

When you are conscientious of how external circumstances positively impact your life you are feeling grateful. 

Gratitude helps you suppress the desire for more by making you more sensitive to the good, pleasurable, and meaningful things that already exist in your life or moments you’ve experienced — particularly things outside of your control.  

You can cultivate gratitude my understanding more about what triggers this feeling.

One big misunderstanding about gratitude is that it is a habit, action, or  exercise.

As a result, you may mistakenly think that you only need to do superficial things (like chant gratitude mantras) to have more gratitude.

However, remember that gratitude is a feeling and, like most feelings, can’t always be easily turned on or off at whim.

Gratitude, like other positive feelings, has many proven psychological, physical, and social benefits.

But if you just go through the motion without understanding how this emotion actually works, you’ll miss out on these benefits.

The root of the word gratitude is the Latin term grat which means pleasing. 

When considering how to have a mindset of enduring thankfulness (an interchangeable term for gratitude) in a way that’s within your control, focus less on superficial wants and desires and more on designing a lifestyle that helps you maintain a perpetual state of meaningful pleasure. For example:

  • having a sense of purpose

  • living according to your values

  • pursuing simple pleasures

  • seeking the good in situations

All of the above are important because they require an understanding of what you deem to be good, pleasurable, and meaningful.

If you don’t know what is significant to you, you won’t be able to recognize and appreciate these things when you experience them. 

Try to allocate a few hours to thinking about one or more of the bullets above, then put a plan in place for how you will implement them. 

practice gratitude

Recommended Reading

Read more about the many proven psychological, physical, and social benefits of gratitude.

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