Appreciation and gratitude are powerful tools for transformation if you learn to use them correctly. Here are eight ways to leverage this mental currency.
Most people think of gratitude and appreciation as passive expressions. It’s just like a muscle, so the more you use it, the stronger it can become.
Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart
We are born in a natural state of innocence and happiness. Our first bond is with our mother; this bond awakens our hearts and imprints a memory we can use as an anchor. The door to the heart’s memory is through gratitude.
When you make gratefulness a part of our routine, it becomes a powerful force for growth and development. Appreciation and gratitude can transform your life by changing your attitude and perspective. Gratitude is an indispensable tool, whether you are beginning your spiritual quest or a seasoned explorer. (1)
We can turn a passive, ineffective ritual into a powerful force. We need to integrate gratitude into our routine and add focus and purpose. If you do this, it will become a tool of transformation. The things we need to do are simple.
To make gratitude powerful, you must do three things. First, use your habitual nature to create a positive habit. Second, give the new habit attention and focus, and third, execute it with purpose. Do it with the goal in mind.
Let’s go over the things you need to do and then show you how to turn them into positive behaviors. Once you learn how to do it, it will only take three minutes a day to transform your attitude and perspective.
Eight Ways Gratitude Can Transform
1) Practice gratefulness every day.
One of the most powerful things you can do is start your day with a positive thought. It’s a way to create a positive mindset. Do this first thing in the morning. It sets the tone for the whole day. Yes, during a crisis like a pandemic, this isn’t easy. Finding one thing you are grateful for can be challenging. (2)
However, no matter how small it is, it will make a difference. But doing this every day is extremely important. Gratitude gives you a positive mindset, which helps you make better decisions. See your life as a beautiful expression, no matter the circumstances. It may take some imagination, but you can do it.
“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals.
If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.“ ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
2) Speak words of appreciation and gratitude out loud.
Don’t just think the words; speak them out loud. Something about voicing positive comments makes it more potent than thought. All the great sages and mythologies of creation tell us that words created the universe.
“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. And I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly. I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.” ― Henry J.M. Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son
“Be grateful for what you have now. As you begin to think about all the things in your life you are grateful for, you will be amazed at the never-ending thoughts that come back to you of more things to be grateful for. You have to start, and then the law of attraction will receive those grateful thoughts and give you more just like them.” ― Rhonda Byrne, The Secret
3) Share your gratitude with another person.
It is difficult to be cynical when you talk about beneficial things. Sharing what you find to be grateful for will encourage others. You help yourself and the other person in this exchange. You can bet they will be glad to see you again.
“Everyone enjoys being acknowledged and appreciated. Sometimes even the simplest act of gratitude can change someone’s entire day. Take the time to recognize and value the people around you and appreciate those who make a difference in your lives.” ― Roy T. Bennett
4) Make time to do things that make you happy.
Do the things that make you happy that make you grateful. Even the tiniest things can boost your attitude. Make it a practice to do one fun thing every day! When you do something that makes you happy, you automatically create a reason to be grateful.
“Do things that make you happy within the confines of the legal system.”
― Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously… I’m Kidding
5) Spend time with people who make you feel good.
The pandemic makes face-to-face risky, but thankfully, we have various video conference options. And, if nothing else, make a phone call.
We are social beings, and our friends give us support and encouragement. Support gives us hope for a better future.
“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” ― Karl Marx
6) Give away things, help others.
When you donate to help others, you feel good about yourself. It gives others something they can be grateful to receive. Decluttering provides space and space is and freedom. It is the spiritual law of ebb and flow, the liberty of surrender.
Helping others expands your heart and conscience, and that’s a much-needed commodity in this world so filled with negativity.
“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. ― Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
7) Stop ruminating on problems.
Taking a break from problem-solving is often the best way to allow your subconscious to bring creative solutions to light. Worrying is using your imagination to cause yourself harm.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
8) Do the most challenging thing first.
Some people refer to this as “eating the frog. Do the hardest thing on your “to-do” list first. This way, you are rested and ready. When you do the hard things first, you take a weight off your shoulders. You can start the day with a celebration when you tackle them.
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” ― Nicolas Chamfort
Appreciation and Gratitude is a Gateway
These virtues are expressions of the human spirit‘s highest values. Opening these virtues is the key to balancing our psyche. These are not just philosophical principles but fundamental elements of psychic structure.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ― William Arthur Ward
The path to these virtues can be found using tools of the inner quest. We categorize them in four main groups:
When we channel these virtues, we empower the highest values. To find them, we must embark on our inner quest. You begin the journey of your soul path when you learn that the spiritual truths you seek are in your soul.
““Your soul path is revealed when you open the virtues of the spirit. These are Gratitude, Love, Appreciation, Serenity, Joyfulness, Happiness, Thankfulness, Blissfulness, and Mindfulness. With these tools, we are able to conquer … not the world, but ourselves. And so then… the world does not need to be conquered.” — Guru Tua
Gratitude is often seen as the first of these virtues because it provides a universal perspective. This doorway is essential for the type five personality of the Enneagram. It is through gratitude that we “let go” of negative feelings.
A fundamental principle of Buddhism is Learning to “Let go.” It’s difficult to do because our memory likes to bring up past failures and pain. Non-attachment is letting go. Even if you aren’t a type five, you can still access this quality through the exercises above. Learning to channel gratitude and let go is especially helpful if you are a type five.
“Truth is not to be found outside. No teacher, no scripture can give it to you. It is inside you and if you wish to attain it, seek your own company. Be with yourself.” — Osho
The most important thing is practicing it every day. Gratitude can transform your thinking when you do it. Fact is that is the only way you’ll know that it works.
(1) How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain
(2) Giving thanks can make you happier: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier