10 Ideas To Help You Develop A Gratitude Mindset
Developing A Gratitude Mindset Requires Character Growth
Finding contentment isn’t always easy.
I can vividly remember a time when I was in my early 20s and I was really struggling in my life. There were a lot of things I didn’t like about my life at the time and yet I felt like I was in a season where I needed to grow through the challenges and not just try to change my circumstances.
So I decided to make a real effort at changing my mindset about my circumstances by writing out a list of things I was grateful for in my life.
I don’t remember how many I wrote, but it was quite a long list…
The point was to make myself really look for things I was thankful for. And then I stuck it in my Bible to remind myself often of the things I was thankful for.
While it didn’t magically change my thinking overnight, writing out the list did help me to be intentional about working towards a more positive and grateful attitude.
Role Models Can Help You Become More Grateful
We all have our natural tendencies in our personalities, and I am certainly not a glass-half-full kind of gal. However, I’ve spent enough time in the company of other people who complained to realize that I didn’t want to be a negative Nelly.
At the same time, simply NOT wanting to be someone wasn’t a good enough goal. I wasn’t aiming high enough.
Henri Frederic Amiel says,
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”
I wasn’t doing enough to show my gratitude…
Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by some amazing leaders and people who model what a positive, grateful mindset can look like.
And that’s when the spark caught in my heart; I wanted to become someone who inspires others and in order to do that, I knew I needed to become much more intentional about developing a positive mindset.
Practicing A Gratitude Mindset Can Change Your Brain
The amazing thing is that practicing gratitude can change your brain.
Not only that, but studies also indicate that practicing gratitude can have a positive lasting impact that actually snowballs over time!
Some of the benefits associated with gratitude can include:
- Feeling happier
- Feeling more positive emotions
- Better health
- Stronger relationships
- Greater resilience to overcome barriers
Don’t those sound like benefits we would all want?
It Takes Time To Develop A Gratitude Mindset
When I first started being intentional about developing a more grateful mindset, it was hard. I used to focus on the negative things in my life.
But I didn’t give up and over time, as I continue to practice having a thankful attitude, it became easier.
Research also supports this, suggesting that sometimes it can take time to feel the effects of practicing gratitude but over time when we don’t give up, we will feel it.
So keep at it!
Practicing Gratitude Was A Tool In My Healing Journey
I’ve shared before that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for quite a number of years. Thankfully, it’s much better now for the most part.
I’m not going to suggest what anyone struggling with depression or anxiety should do because that’s beyond the scope of this blog post and certainly not my area of expertise.
Anyone suffering from a mental illness should seek professional help.
What I WILL share is how gratitude is one tool in my toolbox that has helped me to continue to move beyond depression and anxiety.
Sometimes when I was in the worst of my struggles, I was quite a self-absorbed person; I was just trying to survive.
To move beyond selfishness, part of my healing journey has been learning to look more and more outside of myself and one of the ways I do that is through gratitude. It helps to remind me…
- Of God’s goodness and faithfulness in my life every day, regardless of my circumstances.
- Of the many blessings in my life each day that are always there, when I look for them.
- To look for the things I appreciate about others in my life so I can let them know.
- To practice being a positive person because those are the kinds of people I want to be around.
- That when I’m grateful, I have so much more to offer others in my life.
10 Ideas To Help You Develop A Gratitude Mindset
Is developing a more grateful mindset something you’ve been practicing too?
If it is or you’d like to take that next step, here are 10 ideas to help you get started (you may want to add your own creative ideas!):
1. Find Role Models
Find a thought leader who practices gratitude or generosity, and follow them. One suggestion is a simple book called The Generosity Factor by Ken Blanchard & S. Truett Cathy.
2. Journal What You’re Grateful For
For the next week, take a few minutes each day and write down 3 things you’re grateful for. You could write down any 3 things you’re thankful for or have 3 specific categories that you write about each day, such as your kids, spouse, work, friends, faith, life in general, etc.
3. Practice Tithing Or Donating
With each paycheck, first, give 5-10% off the top to your local church or a charity you support. This is a good practice to remind us that everything we have is a gift and even our ability to earn money is a gift.
4. Tell Someone You Appreciate Them
Think about someone who you are thankful for in your life this week and brainstorm a simple, meaningful way you could show them how much you appreciate them. It could be as simple as writing them a simple thank you note or giving them a gift of appreciation.
5. Model Gratitude For Your Kids
Kids practice what they see their parents doing. So if you have kids, come up with an easy, fun activity that you can do together where you are blessing someone so your kids get to experience the joy of showing appreciation.
6. Write Out Growth Opportunities During Challenges
During the week when you run into a challenge, remind yourself that every challenge is an opportunity to grow. Write out what you can learn from this challenge that you’re thankful for. This will help you to develop creativity and resilience. Instead of just feeling frustrated every time an obstacle pops up, you’ll develop thinking that looks for growth opportunities.
7. Pass On What You’re Learning
As you’re learning and growing about gratitude, find somebody in your life that you can take under your wing to pass on your learnings in order to give someone a hand up.
8. Remember People Who Have Influenced You
Make a list of 3-5 people who have impacted your life in a significant way or who have helped you to get to where you are today. Write them a simple thank you note, letting them know how they’ve made a difference in your life and give it to them or mail it to them.
9. Thank God For Things You’re Grateful For
If you’re a person of faith, take a moment each day for the next week and tell God what you’re thankful for about him or in your life in general.
10. Meditate On What You’re Grateful For
Practice developing positive thinking by meditating on something that will help you to be grateful: it could be a scripture verse, a quote, a past memory you shared with a loved one or something you’re thankful for in your day.
These are just some suggestions to help you get started. You might have fun coming up with your own gratitude exercises.
The important thing is to just get started today 🙂
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