Cultivate Appreciation & Gratitude

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

Gratitude is another superpower that has the capacity to transform your life for the better. No wonder scientists have been researching its benefits actively for a while now. How would you like to build better and more meaningful relationships, significantly improve your physical and mental health, experience a deep sense of happiness, sleep better, improve your self-esteem, and increase your mental strength? You can easily enjoy all those benefits. All it requires is for you to develop your ability to sincerely appreciate the things and the people in your life who are positive and make you feel good. It’s quite simple, and yet so powerful.

Despite all the known benefits practicing gratitude can bring into your life, you may have noticed that being genuinely thankful can sometimes be difficult. It does not always come easy to us because we tend to be more focused on the negative things in our life rather than on the positive ones. There are simple ways, however, to cultivate gratitude and appreciation that will better your life and improve the way you relate to yourself, to others and to life in general.

Simple Ways to Cultivate it!
Start your day on the right side of the bed.

The way you feel and the state of mind you adopt when you start your day usually sets the tone for the way your day will be like. Therefore, adopting a positive attitude from the moment you wake up can influence the rest of your day. This can be achieved by starting your daily routine with being grateful. Before you get up, see if you can think of one or two things you are thankful for. It can be the nice and warm weather outside, your good health, the fact that you’re going camping with your friends later that day, or anything else that makes you feel good, warm and happy inside.

Start a gratitude journal.

Devote a few minutes at the end of each day to write in your journal. List two or three things that happened that day and that inspire you to feel grateful. Writing in your gratitude journal at the end of the day gives you a chance to reflect on events you experienced that day and how they made you feel. Writing about them will help you connect with those feelings and learn to recognize the impact they have on your physical and mental well-being. Discover the power of gratitude by feeling how good it makes you feel inside.

Discover the power of gratitude affirmations.

Gratitude affirmations, though short and simple, are powerful expressions of appreciation that can influence your emotional state while helping you focus on the positive in your life. You can use pre-written gratitude affirmations such as:

  • “I am grateful for all I have.”
  • “It feels good to give and receive love.”
  • “I am thankful for my family and my friends”
  • “Today I will have an attitude of gratitude.”
  • “Gratitude is my superpower.”
  • However, the most powerful affirmations are those you create yourself because they are genuine and heartfelt and connect to you personally.

Write your affirmations each day on an index card that you will keep with you throughout the day so you can look at it from time to time. If writing a gratitude affirmation each day is too much for you, then write one every two or three days, or any time that feels right to you. In addition, when you write your affirmations, try to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Use the present and future tense.
  • Always keep it positive.
Express your gratitude to people, even people you don’t know.

We all have the tendency sometimes to take for granted the things others do for us, whether they be favors or kind gestures. Try to become aware of whether this is one of your tendencies. If it is, see if you can change it by simply, genuinely, and purposefully saying “Thank you!” to the people, including strangers, who are good to you in one way or another and who improve your life every day. You will be surprised at how a simple, “Thank you!” can go a long way and brighten the day of those around you and how good and warm inside their uplifted mood will make you feel.