Gratitude is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. The opposite is also true, but not only does it shrink and wither without use, it seems to get replaced by complaint muscles. Complaint muscles are ugly, bulky, and tend to make people stay away.
Science has shown time and again what we all know intuitively: people who make it a point and practice to be grateful and to express that gratitude are happier, healthier, and much more pleasant to be around.
Fortunately for the people to whom gratitude doesn’t come naturally, it’s something that can easily be developed as a habit and skill. All it takes is a little practice.
Exercises To Strengthen Your Gratitude Muscle
Every time you complain, say at least two things you’re grateful for. “Sandwiching” the complaints offsets the negativity and helps you to refocus.
List three things you’re grateful for first thing in the morning and before you go to sleep at night. Starting the day with a glass-half-full attitude is a great preparation for whatever might be coming your way, and people who end the day with a gratitude exercise sleep better and have better dreams.
Keep a gratitude journal. Write anything from a few lines to a page about things you’re grateful for.
Keep a gratitude calendar. Every day write at least one thing you’re grateful for. Try not to repeat too often, if at all.
Write things you’re grateful for on small pieces of paper and put them in a vase or jar. You can quite literally count your blessings! Watching it fill up can be a great encouragement when you’re having a rough day.
Make a list of things you’re grateful for and make it your goal to list as many different things as possible. It’s easier than you think to come up with 100 things.
Make it a point to thank 5 people for something every day. For bonus points, look them in the eye and smile.
Set an alarm to go off at a random time of day. When it goes off, think of something you’re grateful for.
Express gratitude for something you take for granted. Life is better because of unsung heroes like indoor plumbing and warm socks.
Try your own 90 day experiment with one (or several) of these and see what a difference it makes in your life!