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Why is it important to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Studies show that people who have a grateful attitude are happier and maintain their happiness for longer periods of time. Successful people are grateful people. So if you want to be happy and successful (and who doesn’t) you need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Six steps to cultivating gratitude:
1. Decide to be Grateful
Everything we do starts with a decision. We can control our actions with our decisions and we can control our emotions with our actions. But we have the option to decide to be critical or ungrateful just as easy as deciding to be grateful. The choice is ours, every day.
2. Write it Down
Get a journal or a notebook and start writing down your grateful thoughts. You may struggle at first if this practice is new to you. Just start with one thing you are grateful for. You might try it for 30 days, writing one thing each day. As you keep doing this exercise your list will grow and it will become easier and more natural.
3. Think About It
As you are growing your gratitude list, think about each thing you are recording. It’s not just the act of writing it down that counts but the idea is to make an attitude of gratitude a normal part of your life. As you think about it, it will stay with you.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~Chuck Swindoll
4. Talk About It
Share what you are grateful for with other people. Talking about what you are thankful for should not be reserved for Thanksgiving Day. The more you talk about it, the more the feeling will grow. Make gratitude part of your dinner table conversation. Share it with your friends at work. As you share gratitude with others they will become more grateful too. An attitude of gratitude is attractive and contagious.
5. Find Others Like You
Hang out with like-minded people to help cultivate gratitude. If you want to be more grateful you have to choose to hang out with grateful people. If you surround yourself with negative, critical people it is much harder to be grateful. Choose your associates carefully and you will help yourself cultivate gratitude.
6. Express It
Expressing your gratitude also helps it grow. If you are thankful for someone, tell them. Did you have a favorite teacher when you were young? Write them a thank you note to express your gratitude. Did you have a special friend growing up? Send them a message to show your appreciation for their friendship. There are many ways to express your gratitude such as a phone call or a letter or card. Even sharing it on social media counts. The more you say it out loud, the more it will abound.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward
7. Post It
Be a positive influence on social media. Tweet your gratefulness, post your gratitude on Facebook, share pics of your thankfulness on Instagram, create positive pins for Pinterest to promote your lifestyle of gratitude. Be an encourager to your friends and contacts and watch how they respond.