“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

It’s amazing how one simple, easy, positive action can change so much in a person’s life.

It affects everything.

It makes you a more positive person. A more productive person. A better achiever.

A happier person.

We are not perfect, but gratitude makes us better.

How many other changes can claim to be that quick, that easy, and that profound?

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can incorporate gratitude into your life, and how it will change your life:

1. Have a morning gratitude session.

Take one minute in the morning to think of the people who have done something nice for you, to think of all the things in your life you’re grateful for.

You won’t get to everything in one minute, but it’s enough.

And it will instantly make your day better, and help you start your day off right.

2. When you’re having a hard day … make a gratitude list.

Everybody has bad days.

One of the things that can make a bad day much better is making a list of all the things you’re thankful for.

There are always things to be thankful for.

Think about your friends, your family, your loved ones, the roof over your head, the money in your pocket, and life itself.

3. Instead of getting mad at someone, show gratitude.

That’s a major switching of attitudes — actually a complete flip. And so this isn’t always easy to do.

But we can promise you that it’s a great thing to do.

If you get mad at your co-worker, for example, because of something he or she did … bite your tongue and don’t react in anger.

Instead, take some deep breaths, calm down, and try to think of reasons you’re grateful for that person.

Has that person done anything nice for you?

Has that person ever done a good job?

Find something, anything, even if it’s difficult.

Focus on those things that make you grateful.

It will slowly change your mood.

It will improve your mood, your relationship, and help make things better.

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4. Instead of criticizing your significant other, show gratitude.

If you constantly criticize your spouse, your marriage will slowly deteriorate.

It’s important to be able to talk out problems, but no one likes to be criticized all the time.

Instead, when you find yourself feeling the urge to criticize, stop and take a deep breath.

Calm down, and think about all the reasons you’re grateful for your spouse.

Then share that gratitude, as soon as possible.

Your relationship will become stronger.

Your spouse will learn from your example — especially if you do this all the time.

Your love will grow, and all will be right in the world.

5. When you face a major challenge, be grateful for it.

Many people will see something difficult as a bad thing.

If something goes wrong, it’s a reason to complain, it’s a time of self-pity.

That won’t get you anywhere.

Instead, learn to be grateful for the challenge — it’s an opportunity to grow, to learn, to get better at something.

This will transform you from a complainer into a positive person who only continues to improve.

People will like you better and you’ll improve your career.

6. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, look at what you do have.

Have you ever looked around you and bemoaned how little you have?

How the place you live isn’t your dream house, or the car you drive isn’t as nice as you’d like, or your peers have cooler gadgets or better jobs?

If so, that’s an opportunity to be grateful for what you already have.

It’s easy to forget that there are billions of people worse off than you — who don’t have much in the way of shelter or clothes, who don’t own a car and never will, who don’t own a gadget or even know what one is, who don’t have a job at all or only have very menial, miserable jobs in sweatshop conditions.

Compare your life to these people’s lives, and be grateful for the life you have.

And realize that it’s already more than enough, that happiness is not a destination — it’s already here.

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“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”

~William James