Brighten up Your Day: How to Practice Gratitude

selective focus photography of cherry blossoms

Gratitude has the ability to transform your mindset from negativity to positivity. According to scientific studies, not only does it improve your psychological health, but it also improves your physical health. It can help rid us of toxic emotions like anger or envy and fight off any fleeting negativity. Gratitude is a grounding practice, helping us achieve inner peace and calm a busy mind. For some, gratitude may be engrained in your daily routine, or for others, it may be a spontaneous activity. Either way, here’s some inspo to brighten up your day with tips on how to practice gratitude.

How to Practice Gratitude

Think Outside the Box

For those of you that keep a gratitude journal, it’s likely you’ve spotted some common themes, things that constantly appear on your list. These might be family, friends, health, financial security, pets, etc. and understandably so! They are the essential pillars of happiness for many. It’s always interesting to spice it up a bit and think of a range of things unique to the present day or week that you feel grateful for. For example, instead of writing friends in general, name someone that you feel particularly grateful for now.

house in the middle of crop field with a blue sky and white clouds, a peaceful image much like the mind when practicing gratitude
Photo by Jeffrey Czum on

Pay Attention

From a young age, my nan has been a source of inspiration. She pays attention to all the good around her and always has something positive to say. She finds joy in all the little things that most of us hardly notice. The amazing things she sees on her walks, about the wonderful cooking she’s been doing, how beautiful the flowers that are blooming in her garden are… She pays attention to the little things that are easily forgotten and it’s definitely a secret behind her happiness. She is grateful for and mindful of everything that encompasses her. Let’s take a leaf out of her book and pay attention to our surroundings and day-to-day activities in a mindful way.

The Honey Bee Analogy

A while back I came across an incredibly inspiring video by a guru called Radhanath Swami. It’s about the honey bee and the fly mentality. The analogy talks about where each of these creatures gives its attention. A honey bee goes from flower to flower in search of nectar. It doesn’t worry about the size of the flower or how far away it might be, it searches for the flower’s essence. It does this in the most unexpected of places, despite the fact it might be next to rubbish or filth. Whereas the fly is, quite literally, always looking for shit. It focuses on the rubbish despite all the beauty that might be nearby.

The Gratitude Mindset

The fly represents the mind that fails to notice all the good things we’re surrounded by. In contrast, the honey bee makes a concerted effort to look for positivity, no matter how hard that may be. This analogy emphasises the fact that fault-finding is a habit, a mindset. It is so easy to focus on all the negativity around us, just like the fly. What is more challenging is the honey bee approach, paying attention to all the good around us. If you look hard enough, it will be there even on those bad days. Don’t fall into the trap of being the fly, pay attention to everything good that there is to be grateful for around you.

A Positive Perspective…

In a nutshell, work on paying attention to all the good things that are happening. If you find yourself falling into the negative “fly” mindset, remind yourself to look just a little further. Feel uplifted by doing what brings you joy from a walk in nature to cooking a recipe you love. It’s about being mindful of the little things that so often go by unnoticed. The secret to knowing how to practice gratitude is in paying attention to the little things. And, of course, having a positive “honey bee” mindset. Check out how to develop a growth mindset for an extra dose of positivity.

bumblebees on yellow sunflower, which represents the honey bee mindset in search of positivity
Photo by Caio on

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