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Cultivating Gratitude

Feeling overwhelmed by negativity? These tips provide some tangible ideas for cultivating gratitude in your life to help you challenge or shift your mindset.

Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, take a minute to write 2-3 things you are grateful for. It will become easier the more you do it.

Bored and needing some positivity? Play the Gratitude Alphabet Game. For each letter of the alphabet, think of something you are grateful for that starts with that letter.

Don't compare yourself to others. Instead, recognize that everyone is unique in their own way and focus on the amazing qualities you have to offer!

Focus on the little things. Are you wearing a warm sweater? Did you eat today? Can you see the sky? Think about what matters to you!

Meditate or practice mindfulness. When you slow down, it gives you the opportunity to notice and appreciate the little things.

Pick a time and day to tell someone you love what you appreciate about them. It's ideal if you can do this in person, but if you can't, a text or call will do!

Observe your speech patterns or ask other people what words you use often. Are they words like fail, suck, lame, etc? Make a list of positive words to try and integrate them in your conversations.

Buy a pack of blank cards from the dollar store and make a point to write thank-you cards. You don't have to wait until you get a gift. Saying thank you for small gestures is also meaningful.

Hang out with positive people. It might just rub off on you!

Volunteer in your community. It will build your confidence and help you appreciate the positive aspects of your life.

Travel, whether it's far from home or an hour away. Getting out of your community can give you a new perspective and help you feel more grateful.

Start the day with gratitude affirmations. Set time aside to state out loud what you are grateful for.

Collect images of things you're grateful for, and make a gratitude collage. Once it's done, put it somewhere you'll see it everyday.

Reflect on how far you've come. What would your past self be grateful for if they saw you now?

When you make a to-do list, supplement it with a blessings list. For each task, include something you are grateful for. This helps you make progress while appreciating your current blessings.

When you feel like your life is lacking, make a point to give or share with someone else. This will help you recognize how much you do actually have.

Unplug and get outside. Take a gratitude walk! Bundle up and take time to notice your surroundings, and notice what you feel grateful for.

Thank people who never get thanked, like the bus driver, the custodian, the crossing guard, etc.

Instead of a gratitude journal, try a gratitude jar. Cut strips of paper and, each day, write one reason you are grateful and plop it in the jar. When you're feeling low, review the jar entries.

If you are having a hard time with gratitude, try this alternative instead. 

Let yourself feel! Appreciate your ability to have emotions, and recognize that feeling things like sadness and anger are okay. Even if you feel like you'll never be happy, don't give up.

Create an enjoyable routine. Make time for YOU to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Pair it with something you like, like a nice cup of tea. Soon gratitude will be a habit!

Try to find the silver-lining, no matter how small it might be. For example, maybe you don't like taking the bus, but are thankful it gives you time to read. Finding silver-linings takes practice, so be patient with yourself.

Download the Thinkfull app. It has suggestions on how to manage stress and cultivate gratitude. 

The world we live in can seem sad and scary. Seek out positive stories from websites like The Good News Network, and share them. It will lift your mood and the moods of those around you.

If you are going through a hard time or experiencing something difficult, think about what you are learning through this process.This might be a difficult exercise and the answers might not be obvious at first, but don't give up.

When you get a compliment, do you downplay it? Next time, try to accept it gratefully. Before you discount what someone has said, let it soak in and really listen. You deserve it!

Start with those closest to you, and spend time with people you care about. It's an easy place to start cultivating gratitude.

Do things that boost your mood, such as getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. Starting from a good place will allow gratitude to flow more easily.

If you need help getting started, close your eyes and observe your five senses. What are you grateful for based on what you hear, smell, taste, see and feel?

With time and practice, you might find it easier to generate gratitude. Don't stop once you start feeling more grateful, but also forgive yourself for the days you miss. Keep going!