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How to Practice Gratitude in a World Built on Selfishness

This isn’t a Gary V blog. I’m not going to tell you to be grateful because it will give you better sleep or decrease stress. I’m not going position it as a means to an end. It’s an end. You should be grateful. We can go over the benefits of practicing gratitude. People who practice gratitude are more compassionate, more optimistic, and more content with themselves and their lives. It also gives us the gift of low blood pressure and a stronger immune system.

The problem with our society is that we don’t live in a space of abundance. Everything seems to be a scarce resource. We live in a world that needs more things. More money, friends, and likes on social media. Nothing is ever enough. We then base our happiness on our lack. We won’t be happy until we have the right partner, or that promotion at work. Sorry to tell you that none of this is true. Gaining material things don’t make us happy because we end of wanting more of it. This is what’s called the hedonic treadmill effect. We want more, we get more, we want more of what we just got.

The only way to stop this cycle that’ll get you absolutely nowhere is gratitude. A person who is grateful is able to enjoy their life no matter what stage they are in. The ability to give thanks to what they have and not look at what they don’t makes it impossible to receive happiness from external sources. Here are some ways to break the cycle:

Be Grateful for Each Day

I’m not a morning person. It’s kind of hard to get excited about waking up at 6am. I’m still getting better at being grateful for even waking up because being grateful for the day can shape the rest of it. As soon as I wake up, I try to think of things that I’m grateful for to set the tone for the rest of the day. I’m not perfect, but I try.

Have a Gratitude Journal

I used to use a gratitude journal, but writing down what I was grateful for wasn’t working for me. I had to use willpower to remember to do it. It may not be for me, but it’s one of those suggestions that everyone should at least try. Writing down what you’re grateful allows to put what you have in context and creates meaning for your life. It’s not something you can play around with. You definitely have to be intentional in writing the things you’re truly grateful for to be effective. Maybe I should start journaling again. maybe not every day, but maybe couple times per week.

Show Gratuity with Giving

Gratuity isn’t just the tip you give to your waiter/waitress after a meal is done. It’s something you can constantly do to show you live in abundance. I think I’ve already talked about the positives of giving. It just feels good to give to others. That can be money, but it can also be time, community service, and random acts of kindness (Honda’s not the only one). The more we give, the more we realize we have enough to give. The more we feel we have to give, the more we want to give. That’s the cycle I would want to be a part of.

Try gratuity. Give it a month. I guarantee it’ll change your life for the better.