5 Steps to Increase Gratitude

Nov 29, 2015 by Matt Dixon

With Thanksgiving last week here in the United States, it helped me to reflect on ways I can be more grateful.

We live in a world of abundance. Everything is at our fingertips, and yet, sometimes we are not very happy. Why is that? I’m no psychologist, but I have done a lot of research and have experiences to draw upon. Here are the 5 best ways I have found to gain happiness in my life through showing gratitude.

journal

1. Journaling

Write in a journal every day. Call it a diary, Gertrude, it really doesn’t matter. What works best for me is to journal at the same time of the day each day. For me, that is first thing in the morning. The first thing I write is 3-5 things that were positive about the day. Some days that may be a struggle, but most days it is really easy to find 3 good things about the day.

2. Compliment

Everyone likes a compliment. Everyone. Compliment at least 3 people every day. It could be anything as long as it is sincere. Three sincere compliments. I can do that.

3. Notice

There are two things we should notice. The first is to notice what is good around us. There is a lot. It may be cold outside, but the sun is shining. Perhaps we have a delicious meal. Maybe we notice how thankful we are someone could help us with something. When we look around us trying to find things for which to be grateful, there they are. Have you ever bought a new car, then noticed all the vehicles on the road like your new car? What changed was your perception.

The other thing worth noticing is when we have a less than positive attitude. Once we see that cropping up, we can fix it. Thoughts like "I hate Mondays" can be replaced by "I am so glad I have a job." Remember “The Glad Game” from the movie Pollyanna? Enjoy.

4. Learn

Learn something new every day. One thing about learning, is that we grow when we learn. We do not grow from sitting on the couch and eat a bag of potato chips. Ok, we do grow, but not in the right way. Growing as an individual requires effort get out of our comfort zone, and to learn.

Want to learn Spanish? How about programming? Need to learn how to rotate your tires? Want to learn about the day your son or daughter had? Want to learn that awesome hot fudge sauce recipe from your mom?

Simple. Ask someone. We do have the internet for some of these things, but I know I learn much better from an actual human. You should try it sometime. Plus, when we talk to that other person asking for their knowledge, we strengthen that relationship. It is win – win. 

5. Give Back

For some, giving back means service. For others, they give back by teaching a skill or imparting some piece of knowledge. Giving back comes in so many different forms. Find what works for you. The benefit of giving back is that we are focusing on someone other than ourselves; our focus is external, and the result is always positive.

Summary

There is so much we can do to increase our own happiness that will also help others in the process.