Gratitude is a learned skill and therefore, it is important for us to learn to cultivate gratitude. Most people are not grateful. Perhaps that’s why most people are not happy.
Gratitude is one of key ways to be happy. You can read any article or book in the world on how to be happy, and it would advise you to learn to be grateful. How does one do that though? How do we cultivate gratitude?
As I mentioned, gratitude is a learned skill. It can only be learned by doing, which is practicing gratitude. We can only learn to be more grateful by realizing that gratitude needs everyday practice. We need to learn to cultivate gratitude in our regular lives so that we can live with a sense of joy, since life is a gift.
To cultivate means to grow. The word cultivation is used mostly in context to farming. A farmer cultivates land to grow fruits and vegetables. We are saying that we need to cultivate gratitude in our lives. That means, we need to sow the seeds of gratitude, water them every day, and then harvest the crop of happiness and positivity, which is outcome of the attitude of gratitude.
Let us get into it. Here are 22 ways to cultivate everyday gratitude in life:
1. Start every morning with gratitude
No matter who you are, and where you stand in life, you can start your mornings with gratitude. When you exercise or do some meditation, finish the session with gratitude for the new day. Say thank you to the universe for having an opportunity to live another day.
There is no falsehood in gratitude. It is true that every new day is an opportunity to do something. None of us is guaranteed life, and life by itself is a gift that none of us ever earned. You were born because your parents decided to have sex and produce you. Did you earn your life- no, right.
So, start every morning with gratitude for an opportunity to live another day. That’s the right start to cultivating gratitude.
2. Cultivate gratitude for the food you get to eat
You get to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. As you have your food, say a word of thanks inside for it. If you eat as a family, you can say a word of thanks together before consuming the food. There are millions of poor and hungry people around the world and it is none of their fault. Nobody chooses to be poor and hungry. You have the fortune of having good food- food that nourishes your body and your mind.
Every time you have a meal, express internal gratitude for it. Food indeed is a blessing. It is not just a blessing, but an anytime way to be happier. Think about how often you crave for different kinds of food, whenever you are bored. Cultivate gratitude for the food you get to eat. Do not take it for granted.
3. Understand that gratitude should be the normal state of life
Although it takes effort to cultivate gratitude, it shouldn’t be too difficult to build it in your life because it is not that you are trying to do something unnatural. Gratitude, in fact, should be the natural state.
As I said, life by itself is a gift, and why would you not be thankful for a gift? If life is a gift, everything that it comprises is a part of that gift, isn’t? The joy, the pain-everything that comes along with life is a part of the package of life.
At the end of the day, when you accept and understand that life by itself is a gift, which you have been given by nature or a higher power, whatever you believe in. It ought to be normal to feel grateful for it, and not the other way round.
4. Cultivating gratitude helps us go through hard times
When you go through difficult times, having an attitude of gratitude helps tide through them. You would be able to deal with the difficulties because you would find ways to stay positive, even when things take an adverse turn.
5. Cultivating gratitude makes you a generally happier person
The basic idea I want to propose to you is to learn to be happy for life itself. Life is a gift. Let’s repeat that. Life is a gift. Now, work upwards from here. If life is a gift, then everything that you have received from your life has been a gift since if there was no life, there wouldn’t be anything. Realize that life is a gift, and with that realization, you would become a happier person because you consider life not to be a burden, but a gift that you are meant to cherish.
6. Give work a good name, and be grateful for it
The way the society works in the 21st century, most people hate their jobs. This point has been highlighted several times in this blog and it is a pretty recent study. The problem is that we find it hard to cultivate gratitude for our work or feel grateful for work, because we have given work a bad name. People look at work as the means to make money. That’s it. If you look at work at the means to make money, you would be okay if it sucks life out of you.
So, your work ends up making the world a better place, depending on the purpose of yours or your company’s business. If you look at work as a productive way to contribute to the world through your talents, you won’t look at work as a burden, but as a blessing. That ways, you would be able to feel grateful for it.
7. Cultivate gratitude for nature
Just look at the sunshine, the trees, the rivers, the oxygen we get to breathe- all of this is free. Yes, with the acute deforestation and industrialization, we are only harming the nature that has given us so much.
Nature gives us so much, which we don’t feel grateful towards. When it rains, just realize what a beautiful phenomenon it is, and feel grateful for the experience. Cultivating gratitude for nature is one of the best ways to become more grateful as people, since nature is available to everyone.
8. Teach your kids to be grateful
Children usually imbibe the attitude of their parents. Teach your children to be grateful for everything. Teach them to feel grateful for everything they receive. Explain to them what gratitude means. It is not a simple idea. It is an emotion that we feel. Feeling grateful is a learned and consistent process.
If more parents could teach themselves to be grateful, more kids would also learn to be grateful, by themselves.
9. Cultivate gratitude for your family and people who love you
We can’t live our lives alone. No man or a woman is an island. Arnold Schwarzenegger says in a brilliant speech that he doesn’t believe in a self-made man since we can only grow with the help and support of others.
No matter where you have reached in your life, you have done so with the emotional, financial and psychological support of people who care for you. Cultivate gratitude for them and for what they do for you. Say thank you to them. Express gratitude by saying thank you to your mother or your wife for the food they cook for you. Say thank you to your siblings for the love they give you. Do the same with your friends for being there for you.
Learn to say thank you more often. It would make you a happier and more grateful person.
10. Learn from other people who are more grateful
You can always learn how to be more grateful from people who are more grateful than you. Just ask them what they do to be happier, and feel more fulfilled in life. You won’t just learn about gratitude. You may learn about righteousness, direction and other important values in life.
People who have successfully cultivated gratitude and practice gratefulness have figured a lot of things about life that we need to be figured to be happy. After all, happiness is the purpose of life. You would do no harm to yourself just by asking them for help. You have everything to learn and grow.
11. Write down things you are grateful for
I usually have a list of things I am grateful for, written somewhere I can access easily. I review this list every now and then. Sometimes, there is stuff to add to, and sometimes, unfortunately, there is stuff that I need to delete from this list. However, having this list helps me realize the things I am grateful for. This is one great and easy way to practice gratitude in our lives.
12. Gratitude is important for mental health
People talk a lot about mental health these days. It is true that mental health is important, just like all types of health. Practicing gratitude everyday is one of the easiest ways for your mental health. When you practice gratitude, you simply learn to be grateful and blessed every day. When you do that, you don’t allow negative thoughts to take space in your mind.
The key goal of mental health is to keep your mind in a healthy space where it can work to the best of its ability. In order to do that, we must make every effort to root out negativity. Practicing gratitude is important because it allows us to keep ourselves mentally healthy.
13. Form gratitude habits to cultivate gratitude
Form gratitude habits like saying a prayer or a note of thanks in the morning and before going to bed at night because you had an opportunity to live another day. There could be other habits in context of relationships, like thanking your parents or your partner once in a certain time frame for all that they do for you.
Figure out what works for you and let me know as well, if there is a gratitude habit that you have picked up, that has made an immensely positive impact on your life. I am also in the same journey as you are.
14. Thank the waiter for serving you at the restaurant
Thank the waiter for serving you food at the restaurant. Say thank you to the building guard who makes you feel secure. Thank everyone who serves you, no matter how small the service. If someone does a good job, thank them. It is a great way to instill gratitude in your everyday life.
15. Do things that make you happy to inculcate gratitude in life
Fill your life up with things that make you happy. Imagine, why the world is a painful place? The world is a painful place because people go to jobs they hate and spend their lives with people they don’t love.
They also find it hard to be grateful for life because they feel that their life is a painful burden, without realizing that they themselves are responsible for their lives being a painful burden.
16. Do everything mindfully to practice gratitude
One of the reasons people find it hard to be grateful is because they struggle to live in the moment. They are on their smart phones while eating. While at work, they are distracted by 100 things. There is no way you cultivate gratitude if you are not able to live mindfully in the present moment.
Learn to be mindful, and just like gratitude, practice it every day. It may change your life.
17. Form a gratitude project
As a family, form a gratitude project where you would make a list of things to be grateful for, and share notes. If you do that as a family, you would individually come up with so many things that you would never run out of gratitude, no matter what happens.
18. Practice gratitude, especially in your tough times
Gratitude is especially useful during tough times. When you feel that you have lost everything, you haven’t. Cultivating and practicing gratitude during tough times would make you realize that you are alive, you have learnt a lot of things on the way, you are a hard working person who has turned their fortune around in the past and you can do it even now, among other encouraging thoughts.
The toughest thing during tough times is to keep going, and gratitude could be your lever.
19. When you practice gratitude, you avoid negativity
Gratitude is about feeling better and happier. There is no way you can feel better or happier if you allow negative people around you. Do not let negative people or negative thoughts make space in your mind.
If you do, it would be quite hard to be grateful, since they would fill up your mind with things you don’t have, and things you could have or should have done. Negative people could be toxic to your life.
If you want to cultivate gratitude, discard negativity.
20. Stop comparing your life to those of other people to cultivate gratitude
If you want to find ways to be more grateful in your life, stop comparing your life to those of other people. Consider this- nature didn’t make people similar. Almost all of us look different than others, besides identical twins. Besides, our thoughts and motivations are different- we are all different. Nature didn’t make us similar but we are hell bent on becoming clones of each other.
If you want to be happy and become a grateful person, stop comparing your life to those of others. Given you continue to compare lives to other people to find what’s missing in your life, there is no way you would find gratitude, or happiness.
If you must look at other people’s lives, realize that everyone is different, and see what you can learn from them about how to be happier and grateful.
21. Breathe in, breathe out, you are alive, start now with gratitude
Hey, you are alive. Breathe in and breathe out. You can start with gratitude right now. Practicing gratitude is an everyday habit. If you don’t practice it every day, you would forget to be grateful. It is like a muscle you work upon every day. That is the thing about important habits- we build them as a consistent part of our lives, only through repetition.
Only when we realize that life, the breath we take is a blessing, that’s where we start becoming happier.
22. be grateful for everything life gives you
The purpose of writing this piece is form the background for why gratitude is important in our lives. Now, that there is a background, you would realize that once you start practicing gratitude, you have way more than you have ever been thankful for.
For example, for the readers of this article, they have had education, so they can read this, they have internet, a home or an office they are reading this from, a device like a laptop or a smart phone to read this- there is just so much if you begin to start making your own gratitude list. Do that. Now, that you have realized how important gratitude is, and how you can cultivate it in your life, start implementing some of those ideas on being a more grateful and a more happier person.
If you do that I would be quite grateful, for I have spent a few days writing this piece. The purpose of my life to make the world an inspired and happier place- if you are happy, as a result of reading this, I would be way happier.
In conclusion- why is cultivating gratitude so important?
Gratitude is a learned skill. Gratitude is important for your well being. If you learn to cultivate and practice gratitude in your life, it would turn you into a happier person. Gratitude would also help you in going through hard times because you would learn to realize that even when you think you have lost everything- you haven’t. The purpose of this piece is to help you get started on your journey to cultivate gratitude in your life. I hope you cultivate it, and practice it every day, making you a positive and joyous person.
Thank you for reading.
Why do I write this blog?
The purpose of this blog to help you find your happiness. Please read the other posts on the blog, and follow so that you get updates when new posts are published. Please share any posts you like with your friends so that they can also find their happiness. If you have any feedback for me, please leave it in the comments and I would be happy to work on it. If you would like to support my writing and this blog, you may please send a donation through PayPal here.
I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.