3 Tips to Make Your Attitude of Gratitude Last Over Time
Maintaining gratitude is even more important than finding it.
Posted Nov 27, 2014
Today is Thanksgiving and the phrases, I'm grateful" and "Be grateful" are going to be expressed over and over by millions of people. That is a really good thing!
I so happy that I have seen more and more written over the past few years about the benefits of gratitude.
- Increased happiness
- More optimism
- Better health
- Better sleep
- Improved self-esteem
- Deeper relationships
- Less envy
- More resilience
There is no doubt about it: Gratitude is good for you in many ways and on many levels!
I have transformed my life by practicing gratitude. That's right. It truly is a practice. I'm not perfect at being grateful. Some days I run leaner on gratitude than others. But I am grateful to be a work in progress!
Unfortunately, I see many people who "find gratitude" then become quickly get discouraged, claiming that it does not work because they can't hold onto it. For many years I thought that about myself, too. But happily, and I am quite grateful for this, I found three ways to make my gratitude drift away a lot less and stick around much more. Here are my suggestions:
1) Keep a gratitude journal or a gratitude jar. I used to keep a handwritten gratitude journal. Then I switched to using one of many gratitude apps that are available. After about three years of using the journals (handwritten and app forms) I switched to making and using a gratitude jar, which I keep on my desk. These activities will increase your sense accountability and will help you internalize gratitude as part of your daily life.
2) Establish what I call, "gratitude landmarks". For example, when I leave the gym and walk past the front desk, I remind myself of things I am grateful for. The front desk has become a programmed stimulus for me to think about all that I am thankful for in my life. Billboards on your morning commute or objects and areas in your home can reliably serve you up gratitude in the same manner
3) Pass gratitude on to others. The more I share how much gratitude benefits me, the more people reinforce me for having an attitude of gratitude. This helps me to see myself as a person who serves gratitude to others--and maintaining this identity keeps me in my own place of gratitude too.
Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over 23 years of experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post-doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared on the Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS Eyewitness News Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC, and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006), 10 Days to a Less Distracted Child (Perseus Books 2007), and Why Can't You Read My Mind? You can follow Dr. Jeff on Twitter.
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