The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life.

We live such busy lives that we often forget to express thanks for everything around us. You see, gratitude interchanges with the word thanks. Giving thanks and gratitude are synonymous with each other. When you’re expressing gratitude you’re essentially giving thanks for a certain situation. Gratitude is looking for the good in every situation and expressing appreciation. Your appreciation need not be elaborate, something as simple as taking a second out of your day to say thanks in your mind.

When you wake up in the morning, you can take a second to say thanks for your family or your job. Gratitude helps keep your perspectives in check when you start to get down. It’ll allow you to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing in life. Your gratitude should be expressed to something that doesn’t have monetary value.

It’s normal to get caught up in negative thinking. For example, if something didn’t go right at work or the weather has been terrible, you can begin to think negatively. You will never live a good life with negative thinking. Not that you need to look at the positives in every situation because there will be times when negative thinking is relevant. The goal is to decipher when you should be negative and when you should look towards gratitude to get rid of the negative thinking.

If you’re working at a job and something doesn’t work out, it’s easy to become negative. You forget the fact you have a job which means you’re more well off than most people. Gratitude is looking at your negative situation and seeing the good in it.

Have you ever been around someone who is negative? Did you like being around them? Of course you didn’t! How does it feel when you’re around someone who is positive? Doesn’t it feel good to be around them? Take a look at your negative event and see if you can find anything positive. Gratitude allows you to slow down and fully embrace the moment you’re in.

Now that you know what gratitude is, how can you use it to your advantage?

The first step towards using gratitude to your advantage is keeping a gratitude journal. This is something as simple as using your phone to note the good that has happened during your day. You’ll realize that no matter how bad your day is, there is always something positive within it.

The next negative event you encounter after reading this article, try to find the positive in it. Get in the mindset of looking for the positive in the bad. This shift will change your entire world view.

Try to give at least one compliment out per day. This will also shift your mindset towards looking for the positive in every person you come across. You realize that you’ll feel just as good as the person receiving the compliment. When you give someone a compliment without a covert contract, it will make you feel better.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, try going an entire week saying nothing negative. It’s easy to think of something negative but try to restrain yourself from saying it. By your sheer willpower, you will notice just how many negative thoughts you have per day.

The last step towards expressing gratitude in your life is donating your time or money to a cause you deem worthy. You will learn when you spend money or your time on something other than yourself, it will bring you happiness in your life. Gratitude will never be something you buy but rather something you cultivate on a daily basis.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

Gratitude also has health benefits

It’s also been scientifically proven that gratitude can provide health benefits. With technology in our hands, it’s easy to become impatient. The more you practice gratitude in your life, the more patient and understanding you can become. When you’re more patient in your life, you can make better decisions. Wouldn’t we all like to make better decisions?

Gratitude can help you get better sleep because you’re no longer thinking about the negative events that are taking place in your life. The reason many people don’t get good sleep is because they’re thinking about negative events as they fall asleep. This causes them to wake up during the night in angst. Gratitude can soothe your nervous system, allowing you to have a more peaceful sleep.

Most importantly, gratitude can give you happiness that lasts. There are tons of things in this world that can give you short bursts of happiness, but wouldn’t you want that happiness to last longer? Gratitude can sustain your happiness because it’s something over the long term and not something that can go away. There will always be something to express gratitude about if you just open your eyes. By taking the time to express gratitude throughout the day, you will notice an overall positive change to your mental state.

Still think expressing gratitude is a little out there? Hear what these successful people have to say about expressing gratitude.

Alan Burak from renowned investment firm, Never Alone Capital said that the power of gratitude has allowed him to reach his full potential in life, expressing his true love and passion each day. How would it feel to reach your full potential? You probably aren’t even close to becoming the person you were meant to be, but expressing gratitude each day can help you get closer to that person.

Lewis Howes, host of the top 100 business podcast School of Greatness said, “It reminds us how lucky we are to have whatever it is that we have–our breath, sunshine, water to drink, a cool breeze.” In a world where we’re always craving for more, gratitude can help you bring joy in the present moment. It’s been said that the best things in life are free and gratitude exemplifies that fact.

“Gratitude is the key to joy; it turns what we have into being enough.” – Lewis Howes

Ryan Holiday, a New York Times best-selling author and practitioner of stoicism said that with the practice of gratitude, you can be thankful for what you have every day instead of once per year. The way to embrace gratitude into your life on a daily basis means to accept whatever happens to you. You no longer get mad at the bad, but figure out how to deal with it. When you feel happiness, you embrace it for as long as possible because you don’t know when that moment will reappear.

Gratitude can have a profound impact on your life, but you need to keep sticking with it. It’s a lifelong practice you need to keep at. Think about how much your life would change if you felt happier and more fulfilled in each second of the day.

How do you practice gratitude every single day? Let us know in the comments below!