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5 Tips to Practice Being Grateful for National Gratitude Month

5 Tips to Practice Being Grateful for National Gratitude Month

November is National Gratitude Month and because countless studies have shown that adopting a mindset of gratitude not only helps your mental health, but also provides lasting benefits to the brain, we've gathered some tips to help you practice being grateful. You've got nothing to lose—and happiness to gain!

1. Choose your words carefully. Focusing on the negative in your life can lead to unhappiness and even depression. Instead, be proactive in your use of language that reenforces a positive mindset. Words like "give/receive," "blessed" and "fortunate" can all keep you focused on the good things in your life.

2. Display visual reminders of gratitude. Cues—photographs of your family or pets, fun vacations or good times in your life—can serve as reminders of things you're grateful for.

3. Keep a gratitude journal. Create a daily practice in which you write down things that make you happy or help you feel blessed. These can include positive affirmations about yourself too! "Today, I'm reminded that I'm funny and can usually make people laugh in a way that lifts their spirits," for example, can serve as self-validation for your own attributes and remind you that you have people in your life who value you.

4. Use all your senses. While you're meditating or thinking about things you're grateful for, incorporate what you see, smell, taste, touch and hear. Can you hear your cat meowing on your lap? Do you smell soup simmering in the crockpot? Do you feel the warmth in the room on a cold winter day? Be observant of everything your senses tell you.

5. Fake it 'til you make it. Even if you don't feel particularly grateful in the moment, go through the motions of gratitude by smiling, saying "thank you" and seeking out three things you can count among your blessings. It could be as simple as having eaten breakfast when others in the world don't have enough to eat or enjoying a hot shower because your water bill is paid. When in doubt, write a "thank you" note to someone!