5 Ways to Transform Your Life through Gratitude
At its core, gratitude is the expression of thankfulness and appreciation. Many people understand its importance within social relationships, but did you know that gratitude has the power to transform your entire life?
By acknowledging all of the things that we are grateful for, regardless of how small, we begin to understand the world in a more positive nature. Finding something to be grateful for in all that we do is a learned habit that can be learned and acquired through daily practice.
There are many ways through which we can feel and express gratitude, but they can all have amazing effects on your life. Read on to discover five ways to transform your life through gratitude.
1. Give Back
When giving back, we spend some of our time, money, or resources to help others. It may be directly benefiting someone who previously helped us, or it can be helping a stranger. Giving back comes in many forms, some of which include the following:
- Donating money to charity
- Donating canned foods and goods
- Picking up trash
- Teaching a skill
- Donating unneeded clothes and goods
Giving some of what we have to spare perpetuates the spread of positivity while lifting your own mood as well. In giving back, we feel grateful for what we have, and we express this gratitude by helping others without expecting anything in return.
Although downsizing may not seem like an expression of gratitude, the connection lies in our perspective. The dopamine that is released through instant gratification is often what leads us to collect items we don’t truly need.
By learning to truly feel grateful for what we have, we become happier, which reduces the cravings for instant gratification from outside sources. We also learn to let go of what we no longer need or want, keeping only what is useful and beneficial to us.
If you are ready to downsize, consider donating your undamaged goods to a charity organization.
There are many ways to meditate. You may prefer silence or music, sitting still with legs crossed or walking—regardless of the method, we meditate for focus and for clarity. When we direct that focus on all that we are grateful for, we gain clarity to find things we are grateful for in situations that may not have initially seemed positive.
Gratitude meditations often include keeping a gratitude journal. Spending a moment each day to write down all that you are grateful for can help you find the positives in future situations, and keeping a written record is a great way to reflect on all that is positive in your life.
4. Surround Yourself with Nature
When we surround ourselves with nature, it’s hard not to feel an immense sense of gratitude. You may be grateful for the warm sunshine on your face after a cold winter, or for lush trees providing us shade and oxygen. By immersing ourselves in the outdoors, we regain a perspective of our place in the world that is often forgotten in our built environments.
It doesn’t take much to find gratitude in nature—simply be in it. Remove your eyes from your cell phone screen and the earbuds from your ears, and focus on your surroundings. Listen to the wind, the birds, the flowing water. Smell the foliage, and gaze towards the horizon. Find gratitude in your existence on this amazing planet, and in all the potential that life has to offer.
5. Live Consciously
To live consciously is to bring our attention to each present moment. It may seem silly at first; after all, you’re awake, right? But how often do you drive home or do household chores and then later realize that you have no recollection of doing them, like you were on autopilot?
The practice of keeping our awareness in each moment is often referred to as mindfulness. By consciously returning our focus to the present, we are able to live our lives more fully, and to notice all of the small things we are grateful for that we may have missed had our mind been somewhere else.
How to Begin Transforming Your Life through Gratitude
If you’re unsure how to begin, start small. Take a moment to acknowledge your gratitude each time something positive happens. Perhaps you have a pleasant interaction at the register, or a delivery driver brought your dog a treat.
Learning to acknowledge all that you’re grateful for will only increase how much you find, quickly setting you on the path to begin transforming your life through gratitude.