Do you think we need to become more grateful in our lives?
Let’s talk about Skyler. Skyler was at her sister’s birthday party.
She dressed up well and felt confident as she interacted with others.
Almost everyone she met complimented her too. She felt quite cheerful.
But then, she met her cousin Marie, who began the conversation by saying, “You look so weak!”
Skyler was jolted.
All of a sudden, the other compliments and her own confidence weren’t what she was thinking about.
It was that comment from Marie.
She went to the washroom and observed her face. She asked her sister if she looked weak.
Why is it that despite having so many wonderful things said about her, she fixated on that one negative comment?
The answer is negativity bias.
Human beings have a tendency to focus on the negative even when the negative experiences are insignificant or inconsequential.
This is built into our brains through evolution as our ancestors had to survive in challenging environments.
Then, remembering negative situations (predators, hazards) was more important than remembering the positive (finding food).
But, we’re fortunate now, much safer.
It’s time to let our brains know that we can relax, cherish, and focus on what is good.
A great way to do this is to train the brain with gratitude.
Gratitude is the antithesis of negativity bias, here we focus on what is good, the little blessings, the little moments of joy.
Gratitude has been scientifically proven to help us:
- Feel more positive emotions
- Build healthier relationships
- Feel happier
- Increase in self-esteem
- Increase optimism
- Reduces depressive symptoms
- Improves sleep
Apart from a gratitude journal, a fun and creative way to start practicing gratitude is the Gratitude Jar!
A gratitude jar is a box, glass jar, or small container filled with gratitude entries.
It’s a container of happy, grateful moments.
It offers us a place to express the beautiful moments and blessings in our life, and also revisit them when we want to reminisce and feel better.
How to Make a Gratitude Jar
Here are the things you would need:
- A jar or box
- Pen, pencil, or colorful markers
- Small pieces of paper
- (Optional) Ribbon and stickers to decorate
Here are the tips for practicing with it:
- For your first entry, write what you are grateful for. As you're starting to keep a gratitude jar, it's a great idea to feel grateful for it. It's in the little things.
- Set reminders for when you want to write a gratitude note for your jar. If you're new to this, 3-4 times a week will get you going. You can decide to do this daily too. Choose a frequency that isn't daunting so that you can sustain it. Increase it later if you want to.
- Keep the paper and the pens next to the jar so that there's no obstacle in writing the note down.
- To find things to feel grateful for, reflect on your day. Did something make you smile? Is there something around you that you can feel grateful for?
- Anytime something good happens, try to write about it for your gratitude jar.
- With time, you will have a priceless jar of beautiful moments that you can look back on. These notes will support you through the times when you're not at your best and make you feel happier.
- Also, decide a day to read all the notes you've written. It could be your birthday, New Year's Eve, a holiday, or a particular date. Make it a ritual to go through your gratitude memories that day. It'll be a deep, enriching experience.
To help you with ideas for writing, here are some gratitude prompts:
- Write about the person that you like the most. How do you feel about them?
- Which tool do you use most frequently to get your tasks done? (mobile phone, pen, Internet, transport, utensils, etc.)
- What happened in the last week that made you laugh out loud?
- Why did you start gratitude journaling? Express gratitude to yourself for taking this step.
- What is one part of your life that you won't trade for anything?
- Which activity do you enjoy doing the most?
- What is a lesson in your life that has helped you?
- When did someone smile or laugh because of you? How did that make you feel?
- Who is the person in your life that you'll call in an emergency?
- What is something that was hard to do but you did it anyway?
- Write about a time you were grateful for something a loved one did for you.
- Write a thank-you note to yourself.
- Pick a random photo, and write about why you’re grateful for that memory.
- Write about a person who helped you through a tough situation.
- Look around you and find something that you can feel grateful for, no matter how small.
- What is something that always gives you happiness?
- How does practicing gratitude impact your thoughts?
- Express gratitude for how you've grown and developed through the years.
- What is something that you are looking forward to in your life?
- Remember a time when someone listened to you and empathized with you as you needed them to.
- Appreciate yourself for building the habit of gratitude to live a happier life.
- Take a moment to appreciate a fond memory that always brings a smile to your face.
- Express gratitude for the time you achieved a goal with your willingness and effort.
- How have you supported people throughout your life? Remember a time when you helped someone in need.
- What is something that you turn to when you need comfort?
- Take a deep breath and feel grateful to be who you are, right where you are.
- What is a special memory from your childhood?
- Write and share a Letter of Gratitude to someone who has been your well-wisher.
- What is one thing that you do for yourself that enriches your health?
- Reflect through the week and write about moments that made you happy.
And, that's it! I wish you many, many beautiful grateful moments in life. Share this post with your friends and family to spread the cheer of gratitude!
Continue reading: 9 Simple Gratitude Exercises That Will Help Anyone Become More Grateful