Five Good Ways to Challenge Yourself to Be More Grateful

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” Harry Ironside

I believe the secret to contentment is gratitude. So how can you challenge yourself to be more grateful?  Here are five suggestions:

1. Keep a gratitude journal.

In Persevering Power, I recommend this practice to remember the good in your life so you can better cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Try it. Each morning write three things you are grateful for. If you are having trouble you can start with being grateful you woke up and have another day. If you are healthy that is a big thank you. If you had coffee and something to eat you can be thankful for that.

There is much to be grateful for so give thanks – and write it down!  If you don’t like paper, consider an app like Happyfeed.

2. Express your gratitude

The John Templeton Foundation found that while 90% of Americans are grateful for family and 87% grateful for friends only 50% of women and 44% of men express this. Say “thank you” to people who have helped you or made a difference in your life. Take the time to make a phone call, send a text, or send a handwritten note. You will find that gratitude is contagious.

Every week we receive responses from clients we helped through Administer Justice expressing sincere gratitude for listening without judgment, caring, and providing practical guidance and direction through their legal challenge. These notes demonstrate we are fulfilling our mission, but they also encourage volunteers and staff to persevere in service.

“This is a great service for common people. There is no fear of lawyer appointments, scheduling is easy, it is based in a caring and loving facility with kind people who listen, offer suggestions, and make you feel grateful and at peace.”

3. Meditate

While there are different ways to meditate, I believe the best is centered on the Bible. Moses is a recognized leader and his parting advice to his successor, Joshua, was: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Jos. 1:8 That’s good advice.

Most meditation techniques are designed to center and calm yourself. But centering on yourself can never lead to true peace. You need to center on something greater than yourself. While a higher power may be helpful, a personal Savior means so much more. There is no greater thank you to utter than the thanks of Salvation through a God who loves you so much he laid down his life for you. Jn 3:16.

4. Practice presence

Pay attention to the present moment and enjoy the experiences you are having. I love children. Ask them how old they are, and they will proudly say 8 ½ or even 8 ¾. From an early age, we want time to move quickly so we can be a teenager, reach driving age, reach adulthood, and then it is a race to succeed and build a family but along the way, we too easily miss the joy of moments experienced in the present. Don’t be in such a hurry that you miss the power of being present with others.

There is a lot of research available and good tools to challenge you to focus on being grateful in the moment.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering takes the focus off you and what you lack and allows you to focus on gratitude for what you have and use your time and talents in the service of others. As one of our volunteers at Administer Justice recently commented, “I have such joy when I serve here. I love being an advocate. It’s an opportunity to use your gifts and talents for the Lord.”

In all circumstances give thanks and you will discover joy as you pursue God’s will for you. I Thes. 5:16-18. Keep persevering.