Last Updated on February 14, 2023 by the thought method co.
Gratitude is an important part of self-care. It allows you to acknowledge your accomplishments and is linked to improved physical and psychological health.
When you show gratitude, you and those around you benefit. Because gratitude encourages you to recognize the positive aspects of life and take action to make the world a better place. It enables you to appreciate your blessings, be thankful for what you have, and recognize the contributions of others.
By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, you will lead a more fulfilling life.
In this article you will learn how to cultivate an attitude to gratitude, even if you currently feel there is not much to be grateful about.
Impact of Gratitude on Mental Wellbeing
Gratitude has a positive impact on mental wellbeing. Studies have found that people who regularly practice gratitude are more likely to experience higher levels of happiness, better sleep, improved relationships, and decreased levels of depression and anxiety.
Practicing gratitude builds resilience. It can help you become more mindful of the good things in your life, rather than focusing on the negative and the things you don’t have. It can also help you stay in the present moment and appreciate what you have rather than feeling anxious about the future.
Gratitude helps you build stronger relationships and increases your feelings of connection with others.
Current Advice About Gratitude
Current advice for building gratitude is lacking. Appreciating the little things and making a list of things you are grateful for each day may be helpful. But building gratitude is like building a muscle. And if you do not have strength in a certain area you can’t just dive right in and lift the same weighs the power lifter is lifting. You’d hurt yourself.
So those getting started might not feel grateful for anything. And telling them they need to feel grateful can only add negativity and pressure.
A lot of advice for building gratitude encourages unproductive thinking and reliance on external factors. It encourages people to compare themselves and focus on things they cannot control. It’s a recipe for failure.
This toxic advice sounds like: “someone wants what you have, so be grateful for what you have.”
And it looks like someone invalidating their feelings by comparing themselves to another person who may or may not exist.
The advice directs your attention to others when you need to focus on yourself. Because a true attitude of gratitude is not reliant on others. It exists whether other people are around. And “gratitude” based on what other people may or may not want is not gratitude, it’s a toxic comparison. Sure, someone may want what you have, but someone might not.
More on toxic advice regarding gratitude in this video here:
How to Build Gratitude the Right Way
If you want to receive all the amazing benefits of the gratitude attitude, you need to focus on cultivating gratitude within yourself without comparing yourself to others.
This looks like acknowledging that gratitude is important and an essential part of self-care. It also looks like giving yourself permission to not feel grateful for anything if you do not feel it.
In not forcing yourself to feel grateful, you are validating your feelings. And when you validate your feelings, you take pressure off of them. Relieving this pressure helps you to work through the feelings with curiosity.
So instead of trying to force yourself to do something that does not come easy, you are approaching the situation with curiosity. You give yourself the space to ask, “why don’t I feel grateful?”
And when you are ready to make space for gratitude, you can start by being grateful that you are giving yourself permission not to be grateful. And you can be grateful that you are building a solid foundation of gratitude that will benefit you your entire life, instead of building toxic, fragile gratitude that relies on others.
Are You Ready to Build Gratitude?
Take as long as you need to work up the muscle to be grateful. When you are ready, realize that gratitude depends on what you want. So take some time to focus on what you want while being grateful that you are figuring it out.
Do you want to continue in your current career path? Yes, great, be grateful you are happy where you are. No, great, be grateful you realize this career path is not for you and you are going to make some changes.
Are you happy in your current relationship? Yes, awesome, be grateful you have a solid relationship. No, ok, how are you going to try to make it better? Be grateful you are looking and learning how to make improvements.
Once you figure out what you want, scan your life to see if you have it. If you do, be grateful that you have it. If you do not be grateful that you recognize it and that you are going to build it. Then take the steps in order to get what you want.
Additional Gratitude Work
You can also strengthen your gratitude muscle with smaller exercises like listing 10 things you are grateful for every morning and night. If you don’t feel grateful for anything, then be grateful that you aren’t pressuring yourself to be grateful. But if you are ready to be grateful, some items to be grateful for can be:
- a good night’s rest
- the weekend
- your pets
- that you are working to make things better
- this article :o)
- a roof over your head
- shoes on your feet
- clean water to drink
- your teddy bear (i love you Bernie!)
- that funny TikTok you saw
- a good movie or tv show
- a good book
- that you keep trying, even though it’s tough
The Gratitude Attitude
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can possess.
Influencers and gurus will make it seem like its easy. And maybe in their wonderland it is, but in reality, building gratitude is like building a muscle. And building any new muscle takes time, work and repetition.
You wouldn’t go to the gym for the first time and expect yourself to do pull-ups. You need to activate the muscle and build strength. Same thing with a new mental muscle. So give yourself some grace. Know it takes time and repetition. And if you get off track, be grateful you will eventually get back on track again some time soon, but for now you’re going to take some space to relax.
The great news is muscle memory, my friend. Because even if you revert, once you build the muscle it gets easier and easier to get it back.
If I can do this, you can do this. You got this!
Video discussing what is in his article here: