How the gratitude exercise can change you
The gratitude exercise I am talking about is simply taking some time on a regular basis to think about who and what you are grateful for in your life. Write down what comes to your mind. The writing helps to be more conscious of the thought, it helps you to experience the gratitude fully. Don´t spare the details, that is where life is richest and they will often make you smile during the exercise already. But the gratitude exercise can be way more than an enjoyable amusement. It can change your life profoundly and here are a few reasons why.
You focus on the positive in your life. By giving thanks you become more aware of all the blessings that you have in your life. Sometimes looking back over a day for grateful moments can feel like a little treasure hunt and you will be surprised how many gems you can find. For good things to happen the first step is to see them as such and to accept them gratefully.
It changes how you perceive the world. When there are difficulties, life can be really hard. But gratitude can change the situation by changing your interpretation and focus. If you are facing problems you can choose to be grateful for the challenges and for the people that help you through.
It helps you to value what is important. Very often we take the most valuable things in our lives for granted and only realize them when they are gone. To go deep inside and getting in touch with what you are grateful for will help you to hold in great esteem what really matters in your life.
It reminds you to thank others. Nothing has more potential of making you happy than making other people happy. To tell them how grateful you are for having them in your life or just saying “thank you” for something they have done can make a big difference. Giving thanks reminds us of how good it feels to contribute to each others well-being.
Leo Babauta puts this beautifully in his famous blog zen habits and also writes about how he includes gratitude practices in his life.