There are many ways to practice gratitude alone and with others. Gratitude benefits us most when practiced outwardly in the world. Think of gratitude as an opportunity to give a gift to those you love with no strings attached.
Assess your motive for using gratitude. Gratitude is best given genuinely, openly, and with clear intention. Here are a few tips to practice these essential elements of gratitude:
You can't force anything good- as a mentor once told me. This is especially true of gratitude. Don’t try to force yourself to feel grateful when you don’t. When you feel stuck sit with it for a minute until a space for appreciation or admiration opens up.
Gratitude can be practices solo- in a journal or meditation. But it is most successful in boosting happiness when shared openly with others. Challenge yourself to express it out loud and encourage others to share gratitude. You might be surprised the ripple effects of happiness you create.
With Clear Intention
Gratitude is best with no strings attached. It isn't an apology, or an excuse. When you share gratitude its important the gratitude is pure kindness without attachment to outcome.
Try describing how you feel (such as, I feel “safe,” “appreciated,” “hopeful,” or “excited”), rather than what you think or perceive (i.e. “it makes me ‘feel’ like you actually care,” or “it makes me ‘feel’ like you’re going to be more honest with me). The latter places an expectation on others and makes it more hard for them to empathize and connect with your experience.
Keep in mind that your objective is to uplift a person, to nurture the relationship space between the two of you, and to foster a more healthy world-view within yourself.
Gratitude is a powerful tool that can deepen connections, provide hope and joy, and invite inner peace. Keep these three elements in mind in your gratitude practice this week.