Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude and Appreciation

There are things in our lives that we really care about, but sometimes we don’t understand how much until they’re gone.

When I was a child, (I’m sure many parents have experienced this with their children) I could have a toy sitting right in front of me for hours, and I wouldn’t have any interest in it. However, the moment my little brother came over and picked it up, it was instantly the most sought after item in the room. I wanted the toy back because someone else was enjoying it.

Sometimes we experience this similar feeling later in life. We don’t always feel thankful for something until it’s gone. A few examples of thing we often don’t miss until we don’t have it anymore: our hair, the heat of summer, the cool of winter, toilet paper — the list goes on.

However, more difficult than physical items are when people we love pass away. There are always things we wish we could have done or said but never got around to. We know that practicing gratitude helps us to be more mindful of the important people (and things) in our lives. There are several ways to experience the benefits of gratitude.

  • Keep a gratitude journal and jot down things that you are thankful for in your life. Journals help store important memories and are a great place to write down and work toward future goals.
  • Nurture your relationships and friendships in your life. Take time to call (instead of text) a friend, spend time with family members and have genuine conversations with the ones you love.
  • Try to do one kind thing each day for someone else. Cook a meal for someone, give recognition for a job well done or thank a person who serves in your community.
  • Volunteer with organizations you care about or donate money toward a cause you feel passionately about.
  • Embrace challenges and turn them into room to grow. When you make a mistake or something doesn’t go your way, see it as an opportunity for growth.

Being thankful for the goodness around you can make your life better in so many ways. Most people find it’s difficult to feel sad or sorry for yourself when you are feeling grateful for all of the good things in your life.

Jeff Abell is the Teen Advisory Council Program Coordinator at Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana.