How to Incorporate a Grateful Attitude in Your Life
It may be way past the holiday season, but there’s never a wrong time to talk about one of the most menacing characters ever to have graced the movie screens, The Grinch. This lone grouchy and holiday spirit-free creature based on a beloved children’s story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Theodor Geisel or as many know him, “Dr. Seuss,” has received countless film reincarnations over the years.
There’s simply something about a miser who’s bent on stopping the holiday fun for everyone else that appeals to every one of us. The most recent of these film renditions was last year’s animated film “The Grinch,” which took in a whopping $511 million at the box office. Of course, a major reason why the character is so popular is its main character’s endearing change of heart in the end. He realizes that he is not alone after all and that he has a lot to be grateful for.
The Grinch’s character arc is interesting because it shows an underlying perspective on the long-drawn out debate of “happiness makes us grateful” vs. “gratefulness makes us happy.” Accepting the latter more than the former is key to developing a more grateful attitude in life no matter what. If you’re wondering how to practice gratitude more, you’re on the right track.
Say “thank you” even for the smallest of things.
If you want to have a more grateful attitude, start a mindset that even the little things matter. For example, if your school bus driver waits for you to be properly seated before he or she starts the bus, say “thank you.” Sure, it’s their job to keep kids safe and secure while on the road but showing appreciation for the gesture, no matter how small it is, means you are grateful and therefore you’re spreading a positive attitude in turn.
Find something to be thankful for.
Set aside any time of the day and take a pause to ponder on something in your life that you appreciate. It can be your little sibling saying his or her first words, an “A” from your teacher, or a newly fixed bike. Being able to dedicate a moment to express your thanks allows you to practice the habit better. You can even start doing this more when you’re feeling not-so-great and you’ll kiss those blues away in no time.
A more creative variation of this is to have a gratitude journal or a jar. Write something each day that you’re thankful for on a notebook or a small piece of paper (and drop it into a jar), and when you’re feeling down in the dumps, just go through a page or take out any one of those small pieces of paper.
Write a gratitude letter to someone.
Don’t wait for a holiday or a special occasion to express how grateful you are to someone to have them in your life. Take a piece of paper and write a gratitude letter to them and deliver it to them in person. No emails or texts—just old-fashioned letter writing. Don’t worry about the letter having grammatical errors and the like. The important thing here is to express yourself and let your intended reader know what’s in your heart. Just start with the prompt, “I’m grateful you are in my life because …. “ Do this one as often as possible.
Be observant of your emotions and others’ reactions.
When you’ve adopted the habit of saying thanks for even the small things, take note of your emotions and how doing it makes you feel. Be observant of how others react or take to it as well. When it’s become a daily habit and it’s been so ingrained in your daily activities, you’ll find that it becomes instinct for you to express gratitude and in turn you are spreading a positive attitude to the people around you.
Being grateful takes practice, but once you get used to it, you’ll see its uplifting effects on you and others. Remember, saying thank you to someone doesn’t have to mean writing a thank you note and sending flowers—it can simply mean saying the actual words “Thank you!” and it goes a long way.