Gratitude: 6 tips to improve your quality of life
Gratitude leads to a better quality of life – and gratitude is something that can be learned. Read on to find out how you can make the most of gratitude to feel more content in yourself and how it can make other people happy too. We have also put together 10 gratitude quotes for you.
Gratitude, or the art of being thankful, is a positive feeling. Unlike when you take a negative attitude towards life, in which the world usually seems gray and dreary, being grateful as your go-to mindset results in a positive attitude towards life and in turn, increases your quality of life.
Gratitude: a definition
Unlike other emotions such as rage, anger or euphoria, gratitude tends to be hidden and only in rare cases does gratitude lead to extreme emotional outbursts.
In the long run, gratitude is an enormously important trait because it makes us happy and creates balance. There are many different forms of gratitude and you can find some examples below.
Gratitude is one of the fundamental features of many religions. This could be gratitude for a divine existence and, spiritually, for faith. The feeling of gratitude towards God is something fulfilling and poignant for religious people. Even if you are not religious, however, you can be grateful for your life and existence.
Family is most people’s greatest asset. From this comes the deep gratitude that many feel for their family. For example, you may feel grateful to your parents for making you the person you are today and for the help and emotional support you received in times of need.
Our friends are also a central part of our lives. You may feel thankful for having a great circle of friends and the large contribution your friends make to your life, helping you when it matters and always giving you an honest opinion.
In nearly every survey, health ranks next to family as one of the top things people value most in their lives. We are grateful for being healthy and for being able to enjoy a life without limitations. We may also feel gratitude for the health and integrity of our family and friends.
You can be thankful for living in a democracy where there are no wars or dire poverty. Equal educational opportunities and basic democratic values cannot be taken for granted. We should certainly be grateful for that.
A secure existence
You can be thankful that you have found a successful career and that you have built a secure existence for your family. You can be grateful for not having existential fears and that your basic needs are met.
It sounds trivial, but we can be grateful for what we have, and also for being able to afford things in life, be it a new kitchen appliance, the car of our dreams or a relaxing vacation.
These examples show that you can be grateful for both material and immaterial things. It is often the case that new forms of gratitude crop up in your life after overcoming misfortune or a crisis.
6 tips on how being grateful can improve your quality of life
To help you achieve a better quality of life and go through life feeling more content, we’ve put together 6 top tips for you. They’ll show you how to make being grateful into a new positive outlook you can take on life and how to express this.
Enjoy a positive mindset by being grateful
Gratitude is not a must. You shouldn’t feel obligated to give more thanks. Rather, you should see the feeling of gratitude as an opportunity and a way to develop a positive outlook on the world.
As we go about our day-to-day lives, we take so many things for granted and always want for more, when in actual fact, we should reflect on what we have and be grateful for it.
If you are often plagued by negative feelings, being grateful for something every now and then won’t help. It might lift your spirits for a short while, but it won’t lead to long-term well-being. Learn to focus on the beautiful things in life. After all, they are what make life so worth living.
This doesn’t mean you should suppress all your other feelings. Even though adopting gratitude as one of your personality traits leads to a more positive outlook on life, other emotions like anger and rage are not something to be held in contempt or avoided.
They are as much a part of being human as is feeling sad or happy. Being grateful does not mean never being angry, disheartened or lonely again. It does, however, mean not letting negative feelings take over in the long haul. Set your focus not on what makes you unhappy, but on what makes you happy and content.
Have the courage to change: recognize what makes you unhappy and amend it
Throughout life, there will always be obstacles put in your way and goals that you don’t achieve. When you feel disgruntled in such moments and sense a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction spreading within you, it’s time to learn to distance yourself from these consuming negative feelings. Learn to observe yourself throughout your everyday life and find out what the reasons for your negativity are.
If you get frustrated easily, you can often feel discontent. Throughout your everyday life, there’ll always be new challenges that you don’t feel up to, but not everything you set out to do will prove successful. This, however, is not always down to you – it is a fact of life. If something doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, don’t be discouraged.
A dreary outlook on life does you no good, so try to turn your negative feelings into positive and be optimistic and hopeful. See in your mistakes the opportunity to learn and grow from them.
In terms of personal development, it has proven enormously important to also suffer from setbacks, because if you successfully overcome a crisis, not only do you emerge from it stronger, but you’ll also be well-equipped to deal with any other complications that may arise in the future.
Humans are creatures of habit, but just because something has become a habit does not mean that it’s good. If there are things that are continuously making you unhappy, don’t just name them – change them.
Open yourself up to change and upheaval in your life, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone, feeling fear or having an uncertain future – it can also be a refreshing new start for the mind.
Start the day thinking positively and go to sleep the same way
Keep reminding yourself what you are grateful for in your life. You can even start small. At the end of the day, don’t worry too much about what’s going wrong and don’t spiral down into melancholy or sadness.
Look inside yourself and think about a beautiful thing that happened today or over the course of the week, think about what brought you joy and be grateful for it. This can also be a small thing, like sunshine and good weather, a nice chat with your colleagues or an interesting book you are reading.
Counteract any negative thoughts with positive energy and a zest for life. This is all part of feeling grateful and true to the motto: the glass is half full and not half empty.
End your day with this mantra, make it your new mindset and start the day with just as much conscious positivity. What’s more, feelings of gratitude help to combat depression and listlessness, as being grateful also means having a zest and love for life. Plan something for yourself and consciously focus on being good to yourself. In doing so, positive thoughts will usually appear all by themselves.
Be grateful and create positive memories
You can be grateful for anything, tangible or intangible. The important thing is to always be aware of it. Here are some ideas on how you can make this feeling known to yourself.
- Calendar: note down what makes you happy and what you are grateful for in your calendar.
- Photo album: a photo album filled with beautiful memories can show you what you can be grateful for every day. There’s space inside for all your loved ones, such as a partner, family or friends, but things you’ve experienced alone also belong there: memories of a nice vacation or maybe something material it took you a long time to save up for and which makes you happy, such as a new couch you can relax on.
- Sayings: uplifting sayings can help establish a positive attitude towards life. You can even put them on your fridge or have them framed. This can give you motivation and help you keep sight of how beautiful life is.
- Literature: books can also help to change your attitude towards life. Nihilistic works and texts that demonize and reject the world are rather unhelpful, however, so look for motivational books that talk about the beauty of the world and convey a positive message. There are numerous specialist books and manuals on the subject of "gratitude" that can provide you with a deeper insight into personality analysis and broaden your horizons on the topic of problem-solving.
- Plans: make a list of any activities and events that you plan to attend during the year. You can also enter any meetings you’ve had with friends and family that you are grateful for.
Appreciate life: gratitude makes you content and creates balance
You can only love someone else if you first love yourself, and the same goes for being grateful and having a positive outlook on life – only when you can be grateful for yourself and your life, your being and your achievements, you can also bring a positive attitude toward life to the outside world and transfer it to your environment and fellow human beings.
If you can learn to be at peace with yourself and value your life, you can also embrace others with gratitude, as feeling grateful also means having the ability to self-reflect. Learn to look in the mirror and be happy and content with who you are. Because you are amazing just the way you are. Reflect on yourself by asking yourself the following questions:
- What makes me stand out?
- What makes me special?
- What are some of my character traits that I like?
- What do friends and family appreciate about me?
- What have I already achieved in my life?
- What wishes do I have that I could make come true?
This strengthens your self-awareness and self-esteem. The gratitude you feel towards yourself can improve your outlook on life and also lead to a better quality of life. What’s more, having a hopeful, positive attitude can help combat depression and feelings of weariness towards life and the world.
Learn to express gratitude
Gratitude isn’t just an internal emotion; it can also be outwardly expressed. To do so, it’s important that you empathize with those around you.
By putting yourself in others' shoes, you can recognize when someone wants to do something good for you and is acting with good intentions. A simple "thank you" can signal your appreciation to the other person and makes you feel good at the same time.
Everyone is happy when their efforts to help others are recognized, appreciated and valued. Even if they are just small gestures, you should be grateful for them and express the fact that you are. These gestures can include things like:
- A door being held open for you when you don’t have a hand free
- Being given a handkerchief when your nose is running
- A simple, sincere "How are you?"
- Help being offered when you’re looking for directions
These are all little things, but appreciating them is what leads to having a positive outlook on life in the long run. We take many things for granted in our everyday lives, but really we should take more joy in how well we are essentially doing.
Be more aware of your surroundings and express your appreciation with a "thank you", as gratitude is the prerequisite for appreciation. You will notice that "thank you" is much more than just a phrase. The recognition and appreciation it gives to others usually make their way back round to you.
You can also express your gratitude through facial expressions and gestures, with a smile, for example. Not only is smiling healthy thanks to the endorphins it releases, but it usually also helps to put a smile on someone else’s face too. This simple act can make you appear more personable and allows you to show your appreciation.
Don’t go about your life with your shoulders hunched and your gaze lowered. Connect with your body and express your gratitude and positive mindset through positive body language.
German poet Goethe also recognized the fact that self-reflection is necessary for gratitude:
"If we meet someone who owes us a debt of gratitude, we remember the fact at once. How often can we meet someone to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, without thinking about it".
Here Goethe reminds us that we should meet our fellow human beings with gratitude and mindfulness.
Quotes about gratitude
We’ve collected some sayings about gratitude for you. Why not send one in a message or put one as your WhatsApp status?
- "When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself."
- "I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- "When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree."
- "Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
- "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
(G. K. Chesterton)
- "No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks."
- "For my part, I am almost contented just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever."
- "Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life."
- "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."
- "In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."