Say “Thanks” as often as possible.
You can cultivate a life of gratitude in this simple way.
The commitment to making a habit of saying “Thank you” will tune your mind to the frequency of what you're grateful for rather than what's troublesome. The next time someone does anything that could possibly warrant your verbal appreciation, let them know! Especially if that something is miniscule, borderline deserving of a “Thanks”, toss one their way. There's no need to make a big deal out of it, you can just drop it right there and walk away.
An unexpected gesture of gratitude could make someone's day. Think about it, if you did something insignificant or routine for someone without expecting a response, and you received thanks from them? You'd probably feel good, and the entire morale of any group or relationship would instantly level up, even if only subconsciously or momentarily.
Declaring your gratitude is a win/win. People will be more likely to do good for you in the future because they felt appreciated. (This rule also seems to apply to the Universe in general.) In my opinion, the greatest benefit of this exercise is the fact that you are actively participating in the ever-changing landscape of your psyche. This can be extremely empowering, and will aid in aligning your focus with what you truly want in life.
Making an intentional investment of your attention is especially important when we are exposed to negative or undesirable information. You can even take an otherwise unfavorable situation, and spin it with a sincere “Thank you” (for this obstacle or learning experience) to encourage the positive perspective. I’m not suggesting you wander around in a blissed out haze of praise all day and ignore all challenges. It is certainly helpful to acknowledge what you need to work on, but it is most efficiently done from the state of contentment that comes from celebrating that which is going well.
You are currently breathing, your heart is beating, the Earth is moving around the Sun, there is clean water to drink - this is all great news!. Naturally, we take these things for granted after some time in order to focus on more complex matters. That’s OK, but it can be beneficial to remind yourself that these wonderful circumstances are not guaranteed. These may even be considered privileges, and are excellent opportunities for deepening your gratitude. (Not to mention other countless examples like fantastic weather, beautiful music, or a helping hand.)
I can’t speak for everyone, but when I'm feeling thankful, I'm feeling great! There are many other tried and true ways to engineer gratitude into your daily life as well. You can think of 3 things you are grateful for, write a list, or meditate on the feeling of gratitude. But the next time you see any chance to express your gratitude, give it a voice! The noble practice of reconstructing your mentality to better serve you and the rest of the world begins and continues with a step in the right direction, no matter how small.
Thanks for reading!
Written by Dr. Jason Cooper