Five Practical Ways to Feel Gratitude

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1. Put your life into perspective.

If you’ve been feeling worried, pessimistic, or doubtful for a long time, and maybe for very real situations, don’t try to immediately pour gratitude into your grieving heart. It won’t feel natural, and might make you feel even worse.

It’s too easy to compare yourself with the richest 1%, or the glamorous stars you see on television. Just remember, one third of people on Earth don’t even have a toilet. Really. That’s more than 2 billion people who have to go on the ground. Are you reading this on your cellphone? Your tablet? Your laptop? You’re one of the fortunate few. Put your life into a realistic perspective with the rest of the world.

2. Practice contentment.

With emotions, there is always a process; no one goes from negative to positive overnight. To move in a positive direction, try feeling content first. Be at peace with where you are, even if you don’t like it. Just accept what you have. Only after contentment, can you move to hopefulness and optimism, and from there, it will be much easier to feel grateful. Practice contentment for a few weeks, and it will open the door to gratitude.

3. Change the way you start your day.

Do this in the morning, just for five minutes. As you wake up, think of all the blessings in your life. Think about your dog, your cat, your child, your partner. Feel grateful for your job, even if you don’t like it. It is your source of income. Feel grateful for your car, your clothes, your phone, and the toilet. Really. Feel grateful for the blanket that is keeping your warm, as you’re making this list. Do this for just 5 minutes. This will transform how you start your day. Over time, you’ll find gratitude naturally. Don’t sleep through the alarm, spend those minutes to finding your gratitude instead.

4. Help others.

There are many ways to do this. You can donate money or goods, or you can help a cause online. If you have the time, you can volunteer for a few hours, helping at the local homeless shelter. Seeing, hearing and talking with those less advantaged than you will help you to appreciate what you have. Helping others will make it much easier to feel gratitude. Helping others will help you!

5. Connect with the Universe.

Pray, meditate, do yoga. Talk to a spiritual counselor or a mental health counselor. Do whatever it is that will make you feel connected to a source bigger than you. You’ll feel more empowered, and trusting of life’s possibilities. This will help you feel grateful, even if your dreams are not yet fulfilled.

It’s about evoking good feelings, and becoming more positive. The road to gratitude is paved with positivity. Give yourself time and understanding, no one gets to gratitude overnight. Practice feeling good, starting with contentment, and it’ll be much easier to feel grateful all year long.

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