Just like exercising and eating right, getting into a regular habit of being grateful is a discipline but one well worth the effort. Studies show that people who show their appreciation daily are more energetic, determined, healthier and more creative as well as have better interpersonal relationships, are more optimistic and better able to handle stress and personal challenges.
Here are five ways to practice gratitude that will help strengthen your appreciation muscles.
1. Each day, write down 3 to 5 things for which you are grateful. Watch what happens to the abundance in your life.
2. Find a photo of someone you care about. While looking at the photo, write them a letter telling that person what they mean to you, how they have supported you, or how they have made your life better. If possible, deliver the letter in person.
3. Everyday give someone a heartfelt and specific compliment. Look them in the eye and smile when you deliver the message.
4. Reserve time each week to write at least 3-5 hand written notes of appreciation to people, co-workers, clients who have supported, encouraged, or have made a positive difference in your life.
5. Keep something small, like a rock or button, in a coat pocket, or where you will see or touch it frequently. Each time you encounter that object, think of something or someone you appreciate.
Odds are, you will come up with a few of your own gratitude practices to add to this list. The more, the merrier!