The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
The Dalai Lama

dalai_lamaRegularly expressing appreciation forms the basis of gratitude, a key component to leading a joyful life.  Showing appreciation goes beyond writing an occasional thank you note, rather it needs to become a habit practiced daily.

Based on my experience and those of others I have spoken to, here are a few ways to incorporate appreciation and gratitude into your life.

When you are having a difficult day, take a moment to make a list of all the things you are thankful for such as your family and friends, having a job, good health, the clothes on your back – life itself.

Instead of getting angry with someone, try showing gratitude even though it may not be easy to do. Take a few deep breaths, don’t speak in anger and try to think of reasons you are grateful for that person. It will improve your mood, relieve stress and help make things better.

When you face a major challenge, accept it.  Many people see something difficult as a bad thing – a reason to complain and a time of self-pity.  Rather, look at the challenge as an opportunity to grow, to learn, to get better at something. This will transform you from a complainer into a positive person.

And, instead of looking at what you don’t have, be grateful for what you do have. It is easy to forget that there are millions of people worse off than you – people who live in poverty, young men and women who come back from wars maimed, people who have lost loved ones to crime and addictions. The list can go on and on.  Compare your life to these people’s lives, and be grateful for the life you have.

Related Reading:
Why Appreciation Matters So Much:
The Power of Appreciation: The Key to a Vibrant Life by Noelle C. Nelson
The Importance of Showing Appreciation:
On the Importance of Appreciating Animals – Huffington Post: