Gratitude Practices to Improve your Emotional Mood
The following fourteen suggestions may improve your emotional mood. One reward from practicing gratitude is that we tend to feel a little better no matter what our causes and conditions are at the time.
Here is the list.
- Make a habit of thanking people. “Thank you.” Appreciate what others have done and still do for you.
- Get into the habit of writing brief daily entries in your personal gratitude or happiness journal. Write about anything that you experienced joy of gratitude for – no matter how small.
- When you get trapped into a negative thinking drift, STOP and take a moment to consider at least one thing you have gratitude for right now in your life.
- Practice downward comparison by comparing yourself and WHAT you have to other people who DO NOT have what you have. Have compassion and appreciate the reality of the differences.
- Follow Maya Angelou’s advice: When you learn something new and helpful, teach it to others. When you receive something helpful, share it with others.
- If you are suffering now, consider joining up with others who may be suffering in similar ways – provide social and emotional support to each other, and have gratitude for the people you are with right now.
- Stop once or twice a day give give yourself a check-up. So, how am I doing right now? If you are doing well, carry on. If not, do something quick and safe that will improve the emotional quality of the present moment.
- Practice Japanese Naikan reflection. At the very end of your day ask: What have I received today? What have I given today? What harm have I done today? If you have caused harm, make amends for it.
- Volunteer a small amount of your time each month. Volunteer so you can help improve the quality of life for other people. Consider this an act of kindness, and feel the inner gratitude in that you are able to make such a gift of time and compassion to others.
- Invite a small group of friends over to your home; sit in a circle, and share anything each of you have gratitude for.
- Consider practicing loving kindness meditation as your primary self-care habit.
- Do what Lee Brower (of Empowered Wealth) does. Give people a gratitude stone or bead to keep in their pocket. Encourage them to stop and note their gratitude for something (no matter how small) every time they touch it or become aware of it. Make a habit of searching for “good” gratitude stones to give away.
- Do brief periods of walking meditation in nature. Notice! Listen! See! Allow the wonders of natural environments to provide you with cues for gratitude.
- Follow the sage advice of the following people:
a) Elie Wiesel noted that a person can be defined by her/his attitude toward gratitude.
b) Julian of Norwich noted that all will be well, and to become aware of our rising we need to become aware of our falling. Grace can transform personal failures into abundant, endless comfort.
c) Eric Hoffer noted that for humans the most difficult math to do is to count our blessings.
d) Melodie Beattie noted that the practice of gratitude can bring peace into our day.
e) Albert Schweitzer noted that when you feel all hope is lost, remember one small thing to be grateful for.
For more information refer to Lesowitz, N. and Sammons, M. B. (2009). Living Life as a Thank You: The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude. New York, NY: Bristol Park Books; Aronson, B. C. (2006). Grace: Quotes and Passages for the Heart, Mind, and Soul. New York, NY: Random House.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
Author of Mindful Happiness
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