What Being Mindful About Gratitude Can Do for You
Written By: Matt Mignona
"Be grateful and your life will improve." That's the latest advice from self-help gurus, and they aren't wrong. The only problem is they often forget to mention the need to be mindful enough to recall the moment is always ripe for you to count your blessings. Occasional gratitude is better than not practicing the art of thankfulness ever. A daily dose of appreciation, though, offers the greatest benefits. Here's why.
Regular gratitude changes your brain
The thoughts you entertain most color your perception and influence everything you do. The more you think about them, the greater the neural connections in your brain that make similar thoughts flow. Think about how thankful you are daily and doing so will become an action you no longer need to urge yourself to carry out. Before you know it, appreciation will be habitual and you'll easily recognize reasons for positivity.
Why mindfulness matters
Mindfulness is about teaching your mind to focus on what you want to emphasize rather than allowing it to wander uncontrollably. It's often employed as a self-help method because it trains the brain to concentrate on positivity and not create negative thoughts that cause stress.
Being mindful about gratitude reminds you to seek positive aspects of life. Without it, gratitude might flow only when something obviously deserving of appreciation occurs, and that may not happen enough to help you generate positive neural connections and turn the tide of your thoughts in the right direction.
Mindfulness about gratitude is also useful because it will reduce anxiety sufficiently for you to recognize your blessings. When you are stressed, seeing through the mire of pressure and problems isn't easy. When your vision clears due to being mindful, you can spot life's little wonders and see what's special around you.
How to be mindful about gratitude
Practice gratitude several times a day and link each event with something you do already. Aim to count your blessings as soon as you wake in the morning, for instance, after lunch, and just before you go to bed. Don't worry if doing so seems unnatural initially. Later you'll practice thankfulness on autopilot on and off throughout the day.
Sometimes thinking of things to be grateful about will be simple. At others, though, appreciation might not flow. On these occasions, be general to start the ball rolling and gain momentum. Think about how you love sunsets, the ocean, or your favorite food and your recognition of topics that inspire thankfulness will expand.
Mindfulness will help you turn the appreciation of life into a fine art you practice daily. Soon, pathways in your brain will encourage even more thankfulness to flow. As a result, you'll become super-positive, stress will lift, and an abundance of reasons to be grateful will flood your awareness.