These can be little things, like noticing the leaves coming out on the trees, the lights turning green just as you roll up and the taste of coffee in the morning. These tiny things, that we all take for granted, have the potential to turn a bad day into a good one.
Just like bodybuilding, gratitude is like a muscle, requiring gentle and consistent working. In the same way that you wouldn’t expect to be stacked after one workout, you shouldn’t expect to be perfectly grateful after one gratitude session.
Keep at it though, and you will find that the more you practice, the more you feel grateful for!
What do you tend to thank others for? Do you mean it when you say thank you, or is it just habitual muscle memory? What does that feel like in your body, and are you already ready to get on with the next part of your day?
When that knee-jerk “thanks” response is about to come out, pause for a moment and see if you can pinpoint exactly what it is you are thankful for. For example, if it’s a barista bringing you a latte, are you thankful for their act of service? Or are you more generally thankful that you live in a world where you can have someone else make your coffee? Whatever it is, keep it in mind when you do say thank you.
Gratitude is about acknowledging the good things we have received and appreciating the role played by others in achieving that goodness.
Benefits of gratitude
Gratitude has benefits beyond polite social interaction. It reduces stress, improves sleep quality, and your general mental health. People who practice gratitude are more likely to feel optimistic and joyful than those who don’t. All of this benefits the body, physically, because it has to spend less energy feeling better emotionally.
5 Ways You Can Practise Gratitude
1. Keep a diary. Each day, try to write about the good things that happened and moments you enjoyed. This will ensure you maintain a constant positive reflection on your day and those around you.
2. Don’t forget the hard times. Comparison points are important for gratitude. It can be something as simple as “last year, I didn’t have a job. Today I do.” Or “Five years ago, I didn’t know how to paint, now my sister has taught me”. You don’t have to have gone through immense emotional trauma!
3. Share with others. Let them know when they have done something you are thankful for. This doesn’t have to be a formalized occasion where everyone sits around a table holding hands, it can just be a simple call or text to say “I appreciated when you did XYZ for me.” Chances are you’ll trigger them to feel grateful too!
4. Speak carefully. Gratitude isn’t about being inherently brilliant. It’s about being thankful for the gifts given to you by others. Stay humble!
5. Act it and feel it. Performing grateful actions will teach your body how to be grateful.
What are you grateful for? Let us know by posting what you are grateful for on Instagram, tagging us and using the hashtag #revlabsgratitudechallenge. We can’t wait to read what you are thankful for!