Many of us it seems will spend a ton of time daydreaming about things we want. Maybe you imagine yourself with a six pack, or perhaps you dream of the day you win the lottery. It’s perfectly normal so don’t feel bad about it, but is it healthy?
The problem is, that even if you were to win the lottery and to get a six pack, you might well find yourself still being unhappy. Why? Because you’d now be dreaming about investing in a stock that made you a million dollars, or you’d be dreaming about having massive biceps. In other words, we take what we have for granted and we instead pine after the things we don’t have.
This is where gratitude exercises come in. These are about taking the time out to think about the things you have and the things you’re happy for. This can completely change your life.
How Gratitude Exercises Work
To start doing gratitude exercises, you need to first set aside some time out of your regular routine to practice them. This could mean that you do gratitude exercises once a day in the morning before work or before bed, or you could try to do it before every meal.
A basic exercise to start with then, is to take the time to think of three to five things that you are grateful for. For instance then, you might think you are grateful for your health – even if you have aches and pains think how much worse it could be. Think of the people suffering with terminal diseases or the amputees.
Next, you might choose to think about your family and your friends and how grateful you are for them. Think how nice it is to have people around you who love you and who support you and think how much worse life would be without them.
You can also think of material things. Perhaps you love your computer. Perhaps the simple fact that you know you can play a computer game tonight and escape into another world is enough reason to be grateful.
There are other types of gratitude exercises you can use too. Some people will write the things down they’re grateful for, religious people might work these exercises into their prayers. Whatever you do though, being mindful of the things for which you are grateful can help you to appreciate what you already have and to be much happier as a result.