“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
Minimalism isn’t just about limiting how much stuff we have – it’s mostly about living more meaningful and fulfilling lives. That’s why regularly experiencing gratitude is an important part of the minimalist lifestyle.
Studies show grateful people are healthier, happier and kinder. They also get more sleep, have better relationships, are more resilient and make fewer impulsive financial decisions.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
– G.K. Chesterton
If you’re not naturally bubbling with gratitude, never fear. There are many structured methods for learning to become a more thankful person.
If the first way you try doesn’t stick, don’t worry. You may need to test out a few options before you find which work best for your personality and lifestyle.
- Keep a paper gratitude journal. You can buy beautiful blank books or make your own inexpensive journals out of a notebook. If you need more structure, consider buying a specially designed gratitude journal like The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal or Gratitude: A Daily Journal.
- Keep an electronic gratitude journal. If you prefer gadgets to paper, type a journal on your computer, make a daily gratitude post to social media, or try one of the many gratitude journal apps, like Bliss or Gratitude Journal.
- Say “thank you” when someone helps you out. If you feel inspired, thank things as well as people – though you might want to do that only silently or when you’re alone!
- Whenever you catch yourself in a negative thought, think of something you’re grateful for.
- Say grace before meals. If you’re not religious, focus on thanking the people who cooked and grew the food.
- Talk to others about the good things in your life. For instance, you might mention how pretty the sunrise was this morning or how your child gave you a big hug.
- Write thank-you cards to people who’ve made a difference in your life. Not just friends and family, but an author whose books have changed your life, or the second-grade teacher who encouraged you to continue painting pink trees.
- Set aside a special time of day to think of a few things you’re thankful for. Many people choose first thing when they get up or as they lie down to go to sleep. Others prefer to have each member of the family list a few things they’re grateful for at dinner.
- Express your thankfulness by making a donation or volunteering some time to help someone else get some of the things you take for granted.