how to practice gratitude

How To Practice Gratitude: 10 EXERCISES TO BE HAPPIER

Discover how to practice gratitude to find happiness and attract the right things to you. Did you know that people who practice gratitude regularly are on average 25% happier than others? And gratitude doesn’t only affect our level of happiness!

Several studies, including the one conducted by Dr. Robert Emmons in 2003, have highlighted other benefits of gratitude. Gratefulness makes us more optimistic, more confident, more efficient, less stressed, less envious. Therefore, more satisfied with our lives in general…

In fact, gratitude is one of the 24 strengths of the character identified by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman as being at the origin of positive psychology. Strengths to cultivate in order to be happy and lead a fulfilling life. Despite all these benefits, we don’t always take the time to express our gratitude. Here are 10 exercises to bring gratitude into your life!

1. Exercising the 3 Good Things a Day

This is one of the easiest and most well-known exercises for practicing gratitude. Every night before going to bed, take a few minutes to reflect on the day just gone by. Focus on positive events and find 3 things you are grateful for.

This exercise will be particularly useful after a trying day because it will help you see the positive things, even if the context seems totally negative to you. You will see that you will still find something positive.

A pleasant discussion with a colleague, a free space in front of you in a crowded parking lot, your child running into your arms at the end of school, a delicious meal, a postcard from the other side of the world…

There are always reasons to feel joyful. Remember to thank life for all these little gifts, these little joys. You can also practice this exercise in the morning when you wake up or at breakfast time, but what a pleasure to fall asleep with your heart full of joy and gratitude… What’s great about this exercise is that you can practice it with your children, starting in kindergarten. It is a concept that I have had the opportunity to test. Perfect to adopt a positive state of mind!

2. The gratitude journal or notebook

Take a notebook and a pen and, as in the first exercise, think back to your day, this time writing down 3 to 5 things you are thankful for. Once a day, once or several times a week…

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Riverside University in California and author of the books “How to be happy… And stay happy, and “What makes us really happy” tested the gratitude booklet with several groups at different frequencies. The group that benefited the most was the one that filled it out once a week.

Find your ideal rhythm. Filling out your gratitude journal should be a pleasure, not a chore! Put it on her bedside table. She fills it out whenever she feels like it. If you prefer new technologies, a variation of the gratitude journal is to take pictures of the things you feel gratitude for. You can try this over a week by taking one photo a day, or you can make a beautiful collage of these images in the style of a visualization board.

3. The letter of gratitude

Here’s an extremely powerful gratitude exercise… Write a letter of gratitude to someone who has or has had a positive influence in your life, but whom you haven’t yet taken the time or trouble to thank. It could be a teacher, a mentor, a parent, a grandparent, your spouse, a friend, a co-worker…

Someone who has helped you, someone who inspires you, someone who has shown kindness, goodness or generosity, or someone who matters to you, someone you are happy to have in your life. In short, someone to whom you wish to express your sincere thanks.

You don’t need to write a novel, but be specific about what this person has done for you and what it has brought you, or about their qualities and how their personality positively impacts your life.

Explain what it is about this person that makes you feel grateful to him or her. Of course, you can choose the handwritten, more personal version, which you will mail or hand-deliver to your recipient or send by e-mail.

Studies have shown that expressing gratitude helps strengthen personal and professional bonds. In fact, the people concerned are more motivated to consolidate the relationship that unites them.

4. The gratitude visit

For the less shy or the bravest, a notch above the letter of gratitude, there is the gratitude visit. Instead of sending your letter, you make an appointment to meet the person it is intended for and read it in person?

Tell him/her that you would like to meet with him/her to discuss something, not to mention the letter of gratitude. Be vague. Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, recommends keeping the element of surprise. When you are in front of the person, tell him/her that you want to read a letter you wrote to show your gratitude. Also, ask them not to interrupt you until you have finished reading your letter of gratitude.

Take your courage in both hands and go for it! Take your time. As you read, try to pay attention to the person’s reactions as well as your own. How do you feel? At the end of the reading, share your feelings about the exercise. This is often a very emotional moment. If you live too far away from this person, new technologies come to the rescue again. Propose a video conversation via Skype, Google Hangouts or social networks. That works too!

5. The jar of gratitude

To create your gratitude jar, you will need paper, a pen, a jar (or a box), and everything you need to decorate it to your taste: stickers, paint, glitter, ribbons, glue…

Once your jar is ready, place it in a room where you are sure to see it every day. Ideally, choose a place where you spend the end of the day: the bathroom, you’ll see it when you go to brush your teeth or your bedside table, you’ll see it before you go to bed…Then practice the three Good Things a Day exercise by thinking of three events in your day for which you feel gratitude.

These can be small pleasures like having enjoyed your favorite pastry, having received a call from your best friend, or having enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Each day, write down these moments of happiness on pieces of paper and put them in your jar of gratitude.

As your jar fills up, you will realize that you have a lot to be thankful for in life and for everything you already have. If you are feeling a little blue, open your jar and pick up some notes to remind you of all those good memories. Some people may prefer to put a coin in their gratitude jar every time they feel grateful. Then, once filled, make a donation to an association equivalent to the contents of their jar of gratitude.

6. The gratitude box

As with the gratitude jar, bring a box, and whatever you think is necessary to make it look pretty, a pen or felt pen and paper. This time the exercise consists of writing messages of gratitude to the person of your choice.

If you are out of inspiration, you can thank her for some of her qualities. Write down things that you appreciate about this person, what he or she has taught you, what inspires you, what makes you want to thank him or her for being a part of your life.

Here are a few examples: “Thank you for your unfailing patience”, “Your kindness touches me so much”, “Thank you for being there for me”, “Thank you for being there for me”, “I am so lucky to have a companion like you”,”

What I like about you is that you always believe in me”, “Thank you for supporting and encouraging me in my projects”, “I love to talk for hours and remake the world with you”, “You are my ray of sunshine”, “Thank you for being you, I love you as you are.”

Open your heart and let your feelings speak! Fill your gratitude box with all your little words and offer it. I think it’s a wonderful gift idea for Valentine’s Day, for a loved one’s birthday, for school teachers, for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or even for Christmas.

7. The Walk of Gratitude

This simple gratitude exercise combines the benefits of physical activity, gratitude, and mindfulness meditation. It is, in fact, in part similar to mindfulness walking. Go for a walk, if possible in full nature. Walk slowly and focus on the present moment.

Pay attention to all the wonders that surround you, to everything that can give you pleasure, and what you are thankful for in the present moment. It can be, for example, the song of the birds, the beauty of the butterflies, the color of the trees, the smell of the flowers, the wind in your hair, the warmth of the sun on your skin?

Let yourself be overwhelmed by this deep sense of well-being and gratitude. Allow at least 20-30 minutes of walking time. This is the time it takes for your body to secrete endorphins. They are a source of well-being, both physical and mental, and they also stimulate positive thoughts.

Regular physical activity has a positive impact on your morale, your stress level, and the quality of your sleep. In addition to allowing you to express your gratitude, this exercise will be perfect to clear your head of your worries and possible anxieties.

8. The gratitude meditation

Here is another exercise that combines the benefits of meditation and gratitude. Two activities that help raise your level of happiness. To practice a gratitude meditation, make yourself comfortable in a place where you know you will not be disturbed.

Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply until you reach a state of calm. Pay attention to the things around you that you can hear or feel and give thanks inwardly: “For all of this I am grateful.

Then think about the people who are so important in your life: your family members, your children, your companion, your friends… Soak up the love and gratitude you feel for them, and in the same way, give thanks inwardly: “For all this, I am grateful.”

For all these people, I am grateful.” Mentally review all the things that make you grateful for life, without forgetting what we tend to take for granted: the chance to be alive and healthy, our ability to see, hear, walk, or communicate, but also our qualities, our assets…

You can also visualize the material goods you already own and what they bring you:

A roof over your head, a vehicle to facilitate your travels… Take the time you need: 2, 5, 10 or even 15 minutes, if necessary.

9. The inventory of gratitude

the inventory of gratitude. You write down the 100 things that make you thankful for life. Yes, 100 things… I know, at first, it may seem impossible to find…

If it helps, create categories: the material goods you own.

Your relationships and the meetings you may have had, your current or previous jobs, your qualities and character traits, outings, concerts, trips you have taken and all the places you have already visited, your health and that of your loved ones, all the experiences in your life of which you are proud: diplomas or awards you have obtained, marriage, births, sporting achievements, creation of a company…

The beautiful surprises that life sometimes holds in store: maybe you’ve been lucky enough to meet someone you’re a big fan of, to attend a concert with ultra-convenient seats, to have won a prize in a contest or a sum of money in the lottery.

In reality, you’ll find that you’ll fill out your gratitude inventory much more easily than you thought. An exercise similar to the gratitude list.

10. The gratitude stone

As absorbed as we are in the daily routine, it is not always easy to think of practicing gratitude spontaneously or at least regularly. Here is a little exercise that can help you do it…Choose a stone or a small pebble that you like, no matter what it looks like.

The stone here is nothing more than a symbol, a physical object to focus your attention on and whose purpose is to remind you to practice gratitude. You can just as easily replace it with any other small object.

Put your gratitude stone in your pocket, purse, or on your desk. Choose a place where you are sure you can see it throughout the day.

Every time you see or touch it, if it’s in your pocket, pause and think of at least one thing you feel gratitude or joy for at that moment. Another technique is to program one or more alarms on your phone. For example, one when you get up in the morning and one in the evening at bedtime. In this case, remember the positive events that occurred between two alarms. Feel and express your gratitude.

And you, what do you use as tips?

Do you already know or practice some of these exercises?

Share your experience by commenting on this article.

To go further, read our article on “The Benefits of Gratitude

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