If you want to feel, relate with others, and perform better then one of the easiest things you can do is to adopt a more grateful attitude.

But if you’re highly ambitious and have your sights set on big goals, taking time out to be grateful for things the way they are might seem counterproductive. Even scary!

You might think that if you’re grateful for what you have, you won’t want to make anything better, and give up on all your goals and aspirations. While viewed through a certain lens this may make some sense, in reality, it is simply not the case! It is very possible, and indeed very useful, to inwardly accept and be grateful for things the way that they are, while outwardly working to make things better.

But why does gratitude have such a powerful effect on us?

Why Gratitude works

Essentially, practicing gratitude is training your mind to focus on the positives in life.

We all have a mixture of things working for, and against us at any time. Our memories are filled with experiences that elicit both positive and negative emotions. By practicing gratitude, we are conditioning ourselves to see the positives in any situation instead of the negatives.

For this reason, grateful people are better able to see opportunities when others see obstacles. They also show higher levels of stress tolerance, performance, and happiness.

Far from leading to complacency, the benefits of gratitude are far-reaching. It is a vital practice for anybody who is seeking to optimize their performance!

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of a gratitude practice, here are 4 ways to get more gratitude into your daily life!

1. Keep a gratitude journal

Gratitude journaling is one of the easiest ways that you can remind yourself of all have to be grateful for.

The idea is to reflect and commit the many things you have to be grateful for down on paper. It could be simple things, like the delicious dinner your partner prepared for you, or that on a miserable day, the clouds parted just enough for you to drink your morning coffee in the sun.

If you’ve had a particularly tough day, being able to still find things to be grateful for is especially powerful.

2. Practise gratitude as you drift off to sleep

Research has shown that there are better ways than counting sheep to get to sleep. Practicing gratitude before bed has been shown to help people drift off to sleep more easily AND improve the overall quality of sleep!

Making a habit of thinking over the day’s events before bed, and giving thanks for all the good things that happened is a simple and effective way to train your brain to be more positive. Not to mention getting a good night’s rest!

3. Reframing negatives into positives

How do you interpret challenges or setbacks?

If you’re stuck in traffic and you’re late for work, do you view this as a blessing or a curse?

While it’s easier said than done, it’s very possible to be grateful for otherwise unpleasant experiences. The art of reframing a setback into a chance to practice patience, and to be grateful for the opportunity, is an excellent way to train yourself to be a happier, more positive person. Not only that, but it can help reduce the impact of an otherwise “stressful” situation.

4. Offer gratitude to the people in your life

While it’s one thing to practice gratitude internally, being able to express it genuinely to those around us is a powerful way to improve our relationships.

Not only will your gratitude make others feel good, it also encourages them to express their gratitude to you, in return!