One of the biggest revolutions in the medical field in recent times has been the shift in focus from health, the treating of symptoms, to wellness, the focus on a healthy life to maintain good health. In the same manner, a paradigm shift is now well underway in psychology. In recent years, studies have shifted from the treatment of mental distress to also focus on of how a positive approach can prevent these ailments. And one of the most important facets of a positive approach is being grateful.

While the concept of gratitude has been part of human wisdom and a cornerstone of many major religions for millennia, the psychological study of it has only been around for about 20 years. But in that time, psychologists have found that gratitude has the potential to transform our lives. Different studies have found that people who are more grateful enjoy their lives more on various levels, including happiness, life satisfaction and relationships, while they also report lower levels of stress and depression.

It therefore makes perfect sense to inject more gratitude into your life if you are not already doing so. The good news is that it does not require a huge effort to feel more gratitude, apart from introducing one or two new, small habits. Most of us are already aware that we have plenty to be grateful for, and simply taking the time to acknowledge that can unlock many benefits. Below are a few techniques you can use to make gratitude part of your consciousness.

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  • The first step is to name one thing that you are grateful for every day. Think of the time of day that is the most peaceful to you. Then take just two minutes to think of one thing in your life that you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be something big – even a movie you enjoyed. Just enjoy the positive emotions that come from that experience. If you can, also try to tell at least one other person of your positive experience. Not only does it enhance the gratitude you feel, but it also signals to others that you are a positive person, which is how they will begin to treat you.
  • Remember that gratitude is renewable energy. If someone did something for you that you really appreciate, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate it. In this way, you have enhanced the feeling of gratitude in the lives of two people.
  • Also keep in mind that each thing you are grateful for, is a building block. You may not see a difference in your life after practicing more gratitude for a day or two, but after months of being more mindful of gratitude, the benefits start to add up. You may even find that you don’t need to take time out anymore to recognize things to be grateful for, because you are constantly aware of them.
I like to take time for breakfast to reflect on my blessings and simply enjoy the morning scenery (here while vacationing some time ago).

While it is not wrong to be grateful for our earthly possessions, one soon realizes that most of the things we are grateful for are not money related. Financial planning has its place for sure, but gratitude helps us to keep sight of the fact that money is but one aspect of our complex lives.

Living a more grateful life doesn’t take much extra effort, but the benefits are almost endless.