Have you ever rolled your eyes as a friend who says, “I’ll feel happier when I lose ten pounds,” when just last month, they said they’d be happier if they had the new car, which is now sitting in their driveway? Truth is, when we are chasing happiness in material items, other people, or circumstances, we will never find it. Instead, we find our true happiness in gratitude.
To really understand this, I really suggest listening to one of my favorite songs, Hunting Happiness by W. Darling:
When we use the phrase, “I’ll be happy when ____,” we are basically telling universe that everything we currently have is not good enough. Why on earth would the universe bless you with more if you’re not already grateful for what you have? It can’t work that way.
Plus, we are constantly changing what we need to be happy, setting the bar higher and higher each time. We will never make it to happiness with that pattern.
Instead, we must focus on finding complete appreciation for everything we have in our lives, right this very moment.
The Power of Gratitude
Don’t just take my word for it! Research shows that expressing gratitude can help lower the effects of depression and naturally increase happiness. This can be something as simple as writing down the three things we are most grateful for each day. You can also meditate by reflecting on the things you’re grateful for and allowing yourself to feel it.
As we find more gratitude in our lives, we build up strength and resistance to mental illness. Additionally, we feel a deeper sense of connection with others and our communities, feeling less lonely.
Additionally, when we are expressing gratitude, we activate the same part of the brain (
Keep Gratitude Practice Consistent
Like most things in life, gratitude is like a muscle that need to be activated consistently for us to see the changes it can make in our lives. When we make appreciation a part of each day, it becomes a habit we no longer have to actively think about. Suddenly, it becomes as natural and easy as brushing our teeth each morning.
However, the brain does like novelty and keeping things new and exciting. Rather than finding gratitude for the same things each day, it’s more powerful to be adding to the list as often as we can. We can start small, being grateful for the ability to walk or for the cup of warm coffee sitting in front of us. Gradually, we can start to feel gratitude for all aspects of our lives.
For a consistent practice, set timers on your phone to think about gratitude. Even better, write down the things you are grateful for once a day. Keep a running list or write new ones on a small white board each day or keep a journal on your phone. There is no right or wrong way to start practicing your appreciation methods.
My Favorite Ways to Express Gratitude
Check out this quick video for my tips and tricks.
You can express gratitude daily by:
- Writing it down: Try to thing of at least three things you’re thankful for everyday. I use the 5-minute Journal App (itunes or Google Play) to remind me.
- Expressing gratitude to others: Write thank you notes, send kind emails, or call someone to share some appreciation.
- Thank the Earth: Yes, seriously. Thank the sun for it’s warm glow, the rain for watering your plants, etc.
- Thank your body: When we start to express gratitude for our body, we start to embrace ourselves with more appreciation and love.
- Give back: Giving back, in any form, is a way that we get to express gratitude for our communities, our lifestyles, and find more joy.
It doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it should be fun! If you have children at home, make it a family practice. Perhaps give your gratitude list at dinner each night or keep a whiteboard on the fridge. The younger we can teach our kids to practice, the more consistent it will be in their life.
Finding what we are thankful for is not something that should only happen once a year around a dinner table that is heavy with Thanksgiving turkey (or tofurkey) and sweets. It’s a practice we should be embodying everyday. And it is so easy!
I hope these tips helped you. I would love to hear more about your favorite ways to express gratitude or if someone else has expressed gratitude to you in a way that made you feel really good, how did they do that? I would love to know in the comments below.
I’m so Grateful for You!
Can I take a moment to say how lucky I am to have you here? Every week, I am blessed with the ability of sharing what I love – yoga practices, healthy tips, coaching advice. This platform has been the outlet for me to share my passions and feel aligned with my personal mission. I am so happy that I am able to do this.
What’s even better is being able to connect with my students, all over the world. Whether you are a one-time reader, a Tribe member, or a follower on one of my social media platforms, I am SO grateful for you. Hearing your stories, receiving your emails, and connecting with you in any way brings me so much joy. It is my fuel.
I’m so grateful! Honestly, words cannot express how happy I am to have you on my site and engaging with my work.
Keep sharing your light, my friend.
All my love,