The start of a new year signals a clean slate for everyone. That’s the reason why it’s this time of the year when people take time to plan and set goals for them to accomplish. They’re, after all, one of the ingredients to living a successful and productive life.
Perhaps it’s for this very reason why many tend to list down goals related to career and personal growth. We’ve all gotten too caught up with climbing up the corporate ladder or growing a business that developing an attitude of gratitude is something that we’ve forgotten or set aside.
What many fail to realize is that developing an attitude of gratitude is more than just having good manners. Developing a sincere appreciation for what you have. Studies have shown that people with a grateful attitude win friends enjoy a host of benefits like:
- Making friends more easily,
- Building stronger personal and business relationships,
- Reducing stress levels,
- Increasing their productivity at work, and
- Being more confident about themselves.
The best part about developing an attitude of gratitude doesn’t require much. Here are some tips to help you start becoming more grateful right now. Many of these only need no more than 10 minutes of your time each day.
1. Write a gratitude list by hand.
According to a study done by psychologist Martin Seligman and his team, people that write three things that they are grateful about are happier and less prone to depression.
That’s because writing things down by hand makes them more memorable. As you write something down by hand, your brain begins to process every stroke that you make. Also, writing by hand takes more time than typing it out on your computer or smartphone, it gives you time to relive that moment, causing positive feelings to arise.
If you haven’t tried making a gratitude list before, here’s how to do it:
- Before heading to bed, take a notepad or notebook.
- Write down three good things that happened to you that day. It can be getting a parking spot near the entrance to the supermarket or as huge as being work.
- Write as if you’re sharing it to your spouse or your best friend. The goal here is to get into as much detail as you can so you can relive the moment and experience those positive feelings.
As you keep doing this, you’ll find that you’ll be writing more than just three things you can be grateful for every day.
2. Keep a journal.
Yes, even men keep journals!
In fact, journal writing is one of the things that author Tim Ferris does on a regular basis.
Writing your thoughts in a journal not only gives you a medium to keep all the positive things you’ve experienced. You also have a place to write your dreams and aspirations in your life, giving you time to think things through, brainstorm, and even resolve dilemmas that you’re currently facing.
Journaling also allows you to vent out your fears and worries without fearing any form of judgment. You may not realize it, but keeping these negative thoughts affect your behavior and the way how you view your life. Instead of being grateful, you end up becoming skeptical, grouchy, and pessimistic. So the sooner you get those negative vibes out from your system, the better.
3. Give a “no-occasion” gift to someone.
Grateful people don’t wait for a special occasion to give a gift to someone. On the contrary, it’s during those challenging times when they go the extra mile to show how much they care.
The reason is simple: it’s during these times of struggle when we all need to be reminded by the people close to us that we mean something.
Nothing beats you being there physically with them during their time of need. However, if that’s not possible, sending them a gift is the next best thing.
For example, if you hear that someone in the family is in the hospital but lives in a different state, send them a get well soon gift with a thoughtful message? Then follow it up with either a phone call or video chat. Your effort will be very much appreciated and will give them the strength to recover faster.
4. Shift your perspective.
People that developed an attitude of gratitude can find the good in even when things aren’t going as well as they would like. It’s not because they are oblivious or naïve. Instead, it’s because they know that life’s too short to dwell on the negative. And since they know that they can only give their full attention to one thing at a time, they’d instead focus on the positive things.
So if you find yourself stuck in traffic because of a car accident, don’t start dwelling on the fact that the traffic can cause you to get late for work. Instead, be grateful that you’re not the driver of one of those cars involved in the accident. Sure, you may still end up getting late for work. But at least, the negative thoughts won’t affect your performance and productivity for the rest of the day.
5. Create a gratitude board.
You’ve probably heard of vision boards. Perhaps you may have even created a vision board for your goals this year.
A gratitude board is something similar. However, instead of having photos and phrases that represent your goals, what you have posted are photos and phrases that you can be thankful for like your family, your loyal pet, the home where you live, or your life’s passions.
Not only will this bring a smile on your face, but it also makes them more memorable because our brains process images more quickly than text.
6. Take the time to volunteer.
One of the quickest ways to develop an attitude of gratitude is to expose yourself to people that don’t have the things you either take for granted or complain about.
The next time you’re about to complain about cleaning the mess in your home, head over to your local shelter. Spend an hour volunteering in the soup kitchen. You’ll be surprised how many people out there that would be more than happy to have some place where they can get a hot meal and a roof over their head, even if it’s just for the night.
7. Show your employees you appreciate them.
This was a valuable business lesson I learned from Diisha Imira, CEO and co-founder of Mayvenn—a startup that supplies virgin human hair and other quality beauty products.
More than a nice paycheck and even nicer benefits package, your employees crave to be recognized and appreciated. In fact, it’s one of the most significant factors for them to stay or leave you.
If you’re a manager or business owner, you need to make sure that you take some time to show your employees that you value them. Something as simple as sincerely congratulating them for a job well done can do wonders not just for their productivity, but also their morale.
They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Doing at least one of the steps I’ve shared here can set you on the journey to developing an attitude of gratitude and living a happier, more fulfilled life.
Why don’t we start right now?
Share one thing in your day so far that you are grateful about in the comments below and why you’re thankful about it.