What if we told you that there was a simple exercise you could do to feel more relaxed, enrich your relationships with others, and even help you stay on top of your goals?
Then you might want to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
Whether it’s reducing stress, improving our well-being, and making us feel happier, gratitude has been shown to have numerous benefits.
Gratitude helps us stay focused on the present and appreciate what we currently have. Instead of fixating on a specific moment or experience, which can lead to stress and negativity, gratitude allows us to zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
That’s not to say that we should ignore our emotions and pretend that everything is rosy. But an attitude of gratitude can help us feel more balanced and see the situation from a different perspective.
Things you can do to feel more gratitude
Below are some of the ways you can deepen your appreciation for the big and small things, and develop an attitude for gratitude.
Practice morning gratitude
It’s easy to roll over and check our phone first thing in the morning, but try replacing that habit with a short gratitude routine.
Things you can do for your morning gratitude routine include:
- Write down three things you’re grateful for in your gratitude journal.
- Make a list of things you’re looking forward to that day.
- Recite a positive mantra that makes you feel empowered and calm.
Take a morning stroll and reflect on what you are grateful for. You can even use the free Ink+Volt Gratitude Stroll Worksheet to add more mindfulness to your walk.
Feel free to pick any of the morning exercises to set the tone for the day and develop an attitude for gratitude. And the best part? You can do these gratitude exercises from your bed. :)
Make a list of your small wins
If you’ve ever been dealt a heavy blow to your goals, an attitude for gratitude can get you back on track.
We’ve all experienced failure and setbacks in our personal and professional life. Maybe it was getting passed over for a job promotion or receiving a bad grade on a paper or faltering on a personal goal.
A stinging setback can be hard to get over and derail your focus and motivation. But a simple gratitude exercise like making a list of your small wins can reignite your desire to succeed.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize the steps you are making along the way, no matter how small they may seem.
Here’s how to incorporate an attitude for gratitude into your goal setting strategy:
At the end of the day or week, sit down and make a list of your wins. If you’re a writer who’s trying to take a stab at writing your first screenplay, maybe your small win is jotting down an idea. Or writing three pages. Or buying a new notebook to brainstorm in. Or if your goal is trying to launch a side hustle, maybe your small win is reaching out to someone for advice. Or coming up with a name for your business. Or updating your LinkedIn profile. Remember: it doesn’t matter how small your achievement may seem, it still counts as a win.
When it comes to goals, the reality is that we’re unlikely to see huge, remarkable results right away. Whether it’s training for a marathon or writing a novel, it’s less about big results, and more about the small, incremental progress you make everyday.
Taking the time to acknowledge your small wins will help you appreciate the work that you’ve been putting in day in and day out. And when you begin piecing together a string of small wins in a consistent way, you will eventually start to see the finish line in sight.
A gratitude attitude can help you see that progress is a series of ebbs and flows. Sometimes you’ll have big accomplishments and other times you’ll encounter frustrating setbacks. But when you come from a place of gratitude, you’ll appreciate the bigger perspective and recognize that you are doing good work.
Focus on your breath
When we’re having an overwhelming time at work or at home, the last thing we want to do is look on the bright side. Instead of forcing yourself to stay positive and push down your feelings, which can end up making you feel more frustrated in the end, try to stay focused on the present.
A simple way to focus on the current moment is to do a breathing exercise. In this exercise, close your eyes, inhale for five seconds, and then exhale for five seconds. Repeat the circuit until you start to feel more calm. Doing this will help you return to a more neutral state and allow you to reset.
Once you start to feel more centered, you will have a better awareness of the present moment, and be more mindful of all the good you have going on in your life.
Show your appreciation for others
Showing your gratitude to others is not only a simple way to spread kindness, but it also makes you feel more positive in the process.
How often do we tell the people in our lives that they are wonderful? Gratitude can strengthen our relationships with friends, loved ones, coworkers, and community. When we express gratitude for the time, energy, and commitment of others, we deepen our bonds and cultivate a relationship built on respect and appreciation.
You can use the free Ink+Volt Giving Worksheet to brainstorm ways to extend your gratitude and give back to the people in your life.
Here are some ideas on how to give back:
- Share free professional advice with up-and-comers in your field
- Check in on an elderly or sick neighbor and bring them food
- Organize a clothing or canned food drive
- Send a letter to a friend and let them know how much they mean to you
- Drop off a cozy gift to a new mom with a handwritten card
- Write a thank you note to your child’s teacher