Practicing gratitude does wonders for your life. It lets you really appreciate what you have right now instead of constantly wanting more and being jealous of others. I’m pretty sure we know that getting the next promotion or job or boyfriend or whatever won’t actually make us happy, but we still live our lives in a state of want, want, want. Gratitude helps you understand that satisfaction doesn’t come at the point where you have every single thing you’ve ever wanted, but when you decide to be happy and satisfied.
I work to at least start and end each day with a few things I am grateful for (fruit, my boyfriend, the lush trees outside), but I really try to fully live in the moments I’m in and express gratitude for life always. Being in this state of gratitude more often allows you to be more aware of and appreciate the incredible things in your life. We are constantly surrounded by nature, beauty, love, and miracles; we just have to learn how to value and cherish them instead of taking them for granted.
Expressing gratitude often will raise your overall frequency and allow you to connect with something bigger than yourself; this helps you be more generous and compassionate, and it allows you to manifest more awesome things for your life and those around you. Being grateful often makes you so much more positive because you see how wonderful your life is, and it tells the universe that you are loving your life and you deserve even more great stuff. One of my favorite things to express gratitude for is my ability and opportunity to continue growing and become more of a superhero each and every day.
Benefits of Expressing Gratitude
Harvard Health tells us that gratitude is “strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Makes your relationships stronger because you’re better at showing and telling those you love how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them.
Improves your physical health because you’re more likely to take care of, and be gracious for, your body and health. People who express gratitude typically have fewer aches and pains, feel healthier, and exercise more.
Improves your mental health and strength by reducing negativity and unhealthy emotions and increasing happiness. It helps reduce stress and increase resilience.
Improves empathy by helping you better understand others and where they’re coming from. You’re more likely to take the high road, practice compassion, and understand that you have no idea what struggles others are going through.
Improves sleep and self-esteem because you aren’t so focused on jealousy or resentment; you’re just living your best life and appreciating all you have.
When you begin actively practicing gratitude at least once or twice a day, you begin to receive positive energy in return. You become more positive and excited about your own life, and at the same time you’ll begin to notice your world shifting and becoming better and better all around you.
Expressing gratitude often is an amazing first step to manifesting everything you desire. It’ll help you see that, first of all, the universe does love you and has provided you with some pretty incredible stuff, and that, secondly, you have the power to manifest what you want. You believe good has come before and that more will come your way, and it naturally does.
Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
In your head, all the time. Every morning and evening (and eventually just all the time), think about some awesome things you’re grateful for. I typically choose at least 5 things to be pleased about. Be specific and think about how these awesome things make you feel and how grateful you are for the people, opportunities, and wonders in your life.
In a journal. An awesome way to keep track of your gratitude (and to then look back on hundreds of awesome things) is to keep a gratitude journal. You can write down some things you’re grateful for after meditating in the morning, right before you go to bed, during your lunch break on your phone, whatever.
Write a note or call someone. You can totally strengthen your relationships by showing others in your life how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are that they’re in your life. Do this weekly or monthly, and see how your relationships grow.
Pray or meditate. Spend time in solitude or connecting with your god to really connect with the awesomeness that is the universe.
Write a love letter to yourself. Every once in a while, write down some things you love and appreciate about yourself. Your awesome, beautiful strong body that gets you through your days, your resilient and brilliant mind, your confidence and passion, your great taste, whatever. Don’t blow this off. You can think of things you love about yourself. Even if it’s only a few things at first, the more you write and think great things about yourself, the more you will love yourself, believe in yourself, and realize you’re super awesome and have unlimited potential.
What About the Bad Stuff?
Yes, I’m aware that the universe throws some difficulties at us, but I do my best to appreciate those things as well. I know it sounds totally crazy. But if you can learn to try to find the ‘silver lining’ behind the things that suck in your life, your capacity for gratitude and manifesting awesomeness will grow exponentially. This might feel silly or dumb at first, but it takes practice. When you’re able to see the good in the bad, everything looks a little bit brighter.
It comes naturally to fixate on that which is negative, but when we focus on the negative and our challenges, we become more negative and give off some crappy energy. You’ll be unhappy, you’ll be less fun to hang around, and you’ll manifest more lame things instead of more awesome things. Learn from the challenges, don’t make the same mistakes again, know that the good comes with the bad, and remember that everything is temporary.
How Am I Supposed to Just Believe Good Things Will Come to Me?
Reckless Optimism (or faith, belief, confidence, conviction, expectation, whatever). Seriously, just do it. Practicing gratitude might feel fake or cheesy at first, but the more you do it the stronger you mental state will get and the more powerful your gratitude and ability to manifest great things will become.
At first, make sure to practice gratitude in the morning and evening, but as your aptitude for gratitude grows, you can get to a point of consistently being in a state of gratitude and aware of how incredible and beautiful your life and this world is. At this point, it will become so much easier to understand that there’s more great stuff coming, and that all you have to do is ask for it. You notice the good stuff, more good stuff comes, and your life transforms.
This is one of the biggest and most powerful ways to totally change your life, and it’s all about your own mindset and making 1% wins to retrain it over time. Learn to believe that we live in an abundant and generous world, and appreciate all that surrounds you and all that is coming your way. Be excited that you can have such awesome things, and be willing to take risks and jump at your dreams, confident that you’ll have even more to express gratitude for tomorrow.
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What are you grateful for right now? Start practicing gratitude a bit more every day, and I'd love to hear about the benefits you see!