The pursuit of happiness is a part of being human, and one of the best ways to reach that happiness is by being thankful and appreciative of what you have. When you pause to feel gratitude for life, friends, family, co-workers and even yourself, you notice just how much there is to be happy about. And a positive attitude actually has a lot of effects on your body and mind.
Many studies, such as the one done by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, show that gratitude has long-lasting effects on the brain, benefitting mental health and helping us avoid toxic behaviors and emotions. It might seem hard to feel gratitude every day, especially when the goings are tough, but there are plenty of small things you can do every day to try.
Show your appreciation for others by letting them know what it is that you love or admire about them. You can compliment their intelligence, their skill at something, their ideas or their appearance. Knowing how to give a compliment is one of the easiest ways to be more polite.
Not paying attention to what the other person is saying is one of the rudest things to do, but you should go one step further than just paying attention.
Show the other person that you’re listening and engaged in whatever is going on in their life by asking questions, expressing sympathy when needed and making them feel as though you truly do value their presence in your life.
Keep a journal
A great way of feeling gratitude is to write down everything that you’re thankful for. You can keep a gratitude journal in which you write things down every day or every night as a part of your bedtime ritual. It doesn’t even have to be full sentences; “bullet journaling” is a great method in which you can just list everything in bullet points.
Write a note
Writing down your feelings can be really cathartic, and jotting down those positive feelings will help you focus on the good in life. You can write a note to a loved one, or even yourself, with positive thoughts and affirmations.
Leave a good tip
You should always tip your server a decent amount; in America, their wages tend to be lower with the assumption that tips will provide the rest of their income. Show your gratitude for great service by tipping especially well, and it’ll make your day just as much as it makes theirs.
Donate to charity
Express your gratitude for what you do have by sharing it with others. If you can, donate money to a charity you care about or drop off some (clean and in good condition) clothes at a local charitable thrift store.