The world is a pretty messed up place. We hear story after story of negative news.
Violence. Crime. Death. These fill the news headlines.
It’s easy to begin to wonder if there’s any happiness left in the world.
And I can say that YES, there is happiness left in the world. One way to obtain this happiness is to acquire the attitude of gratitude.
The attitude of gratitude is a life changing principle we can all grasp onto. This principle is simple to implement yet hard to master.
Today, I want to help encourage you to become mindful of what you’re grateful for with these 10 ways to acquire gratitude.
1. Think on the past: At first, you’ll think this is crazy talk. The past is bad and filled with pain. I agree, there’s quite a bit of pain in the past. I know first hand from having to put my dog down.
That was a rough patch in my life. I’m still struggling with it, over a year later. Yet this also makes me grateful.
While tears come when I think of my boy, I’m also able to think back on all the great times I had with Zane. He was a dog who loved to run. He enjoyed the snow and cold. He was goofy and sweet.
By reflecting on the past, I’m able to conjure these memories and think on the happy times I had with him. I’m ever so grateful I got to spend time with him.
You can do the same. Go back to the past and recall situations that brought happiness into your life. Be grateful for those times.
2. Journal: Journaling is an amazing way to bring about gratitude in your life. You can chronicle your ups and your downs. You can create a running commentary on what brought you joy.
Let your thoughts flow onto the blank pages. Feel them with your memories of happiness. Let gratitude begin to envelop you.
3. Volunteer/Help others: Pam and I take time out of our week to volunteer for our youth group where we help lead young people. We freely give of our time to help those that are younger than us.
This has helped us create an attitude of gratitude for those we lead.
When we’re giving of ourselves, we rarely have the time to focus on ourselves. As we focus, we’re also able to see we’re not in as bad of a spot as we may think we are. There’s really more pressing issues than our latest bill or the emergency at work.
4. Compliment others: Specific chemicals are tripped in our brains when we take the time to notice something great about another person and take the time to compliment them. This gives us a boost along with the other person.
5. Use sticky notes: Our world is so negative and we’re so bombarded with sad stories, it’s easy to forget the good that is happening in our lives.
This is where sticky notes can come in handy.
Much like writing in a journal, write out what you’re grateful for on little sticky notes. Begin plastering them where you spend the most time or where you may feel the most down.
You can then quickly scan the room and get a boost of gratitude.
6. Hang with friends: We’ve all got people who we enjoy being around. Yet we’ll neglect to get together and let another day pass by without seeing our friends.
Break this vicious cycle as it’s bringing you away from a state of gratefulness.
Decide you’ll call up Bob or Susan. You’ll catch up with that long lost friend. You’ll grab coffee at Starbucks with your pastor.
Become more connected with those around you and your gratitude meter will begin to rise.
7. Be intentional: You might find yourself being pulled in 10,000 different directions. You’ll find yourself feeling like you lack control. And your gratitude will begin to slip away.
Instead, decide to be intentional of what’s happening in your life. Make choices that suit your goals and bring you closer to the person you want to be.
By being intentional and having a strong sense of where you’re going, you can become more grateful.
8. Find something you love to do: I love to get out and run, Geocache, catch a good movie. These activities bring me joy and happiness. I can be grateful for these experiences in my life.
You can find activities that bring you joy as well. Doing so will help you become happier and bring about a sense of gratitude.
9. Become positive about yourself: It’s easy to talk down to yourself. Negative words can easily slip into our minds and out of our mouths when we make a mistake.
This negative self-talk is extremely dangerous when we let it creep into our lives.
Choose to be positive about yourself today. You wouldn’t keep around friends who say mean and hurtful things. Why are you letting yourself do this to yourself?
10. Forgive others: Next to #9, I think this is the most difficult to do but also the most vital.
We’ve all been hurt and wronged by someone in our life. Sometimes multiple times.
We hold this hurt and anger within us as it slowly eats away at the gratitude we once had.
The sad reality is, we’re only hurting ourselves when we don’t let the wrongs go and hold onto the bitter resentment we feel towards others. The person you’re angry at isn’t hurt by it at all.
Give up on being angry. Be forgiving. Gain gratefulness.