Most human beings crave connections with others, but it doesn’t come naturally to many. It’s tough to get closer to people every day, especially if you live a busy, work-filled life or struggle in social situations. But when you practice gratitude, it can change your perspective and help build connections.
One of the best ways to connect to the people around you is to become more appreciative and thankful. These positive mindsets work wonders for attracting positive people and building a network of people who want to be around you and your energy.
But this is, of course, easier said than done. How can you ensure that you can forge bonds with the people around you, and what does being thankful have to do with anything? Here are five ways to practice gratitude to appreciate things, and connect to others.
1. PAUSE TO EXPRESS PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Saying “thank you” is interwoven into the fabric of polite society – a fact that, in its way, has devalued the meaning of the word. After all, when did you last thank someone and took the time to show it truly? Are you sure the receiver felt the full weight of your gratitude?
Showing your gratefulness is, surprisingly, a skill that has to be practiced. The easiest way to do so is to practice it in day-to-day interactions, like when you pick up your next Starbucks drink or when the cashier has bagged your items for you. You can start by:
- Looking for opportunities to thank someone, be it a friend or stranger
- Pausing and ignoring distractions for a moment
- Making eye contact as you express gratitude
You can also add on to that with little gestures like:
- Nodding your head
- Being detailed in what you’re thanking them for if you can
Once you start practicing this regularly, you’ll quickly see how easy it is to connect with people and leave a positive impact on their life!
2. GIVE BACK TO A COMMUNITY
To truly connect with those around you, you’ll need to step out of your head for a moment and step into the heads and lives of others. That way, you can learn to positively influence those around you and be grateful for what you have! But how can you do that?
Not only does volunteer work help those around you, but it can also help you as well! Research has shown that those who actively undertake volunteer work report feeling happier and more satisfied with their lives and sense of self. They also end up being healthier as well – both in body and mind. And this is before you take into account that volunteer work in and of itself is a great way to get to know your community and those in it!
· GIVE GIFTS TO INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS
A gift is a great way to physically and tangibly remind someone that their care and effort are reciprocated. Try giving someone you appreciate a personalized gift, or walk into an office with a few trays of brownies. You’ll quickly see just how fast a room can brighten up from that act of kindness!
· PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Just because it isn’t a deliberate act doesn’t mean that it is worth any less. A study has shown that regardless of familiarity, random acts of kindness can boost happiness to a substantial degree. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness (such as someone offering a hand with your groceries), you’ll know how big an impact it can have. It certainly is easier to maintain positive thinking in a kind world, after all!00:00 of 09:07Volume 90%
3. NOTICE THE GOOD THINGS
With just how much negativity there is in the air, it’s easy to be bogged down by the weight of the world. Positive thinking may feel like a naive practice under these circumstances.
However, the truth is that remembering the good and uplifting the positive is an essential tool in your fight against the world’s apathy. Counter back that doom and gloom with gratefulness. Some ideas include:
· DO A GRATITUDE ZOOM
We tend to magnify the bad and minimize the good – mostly if we fixate on the former. But there is always a silver lining in every situation, no matter how small. So when you find yourself caught up in a negativity spiral or facing tough times, try looking for the good. What benefit is there? What lessons are there to learn? Finally, what good do you have that you can hold on to and be grateful for, even in these difficult times?
· NOTICE THE GOOD IN PEOPLE AND THE WORLD
It’s easy to feel helpless against the vastness of an uncaring world and be overwhelmed by it. But there’s something you can do that will leave a massive, positive impact on those around you – and that is to observe and appreciate the good you see. Maybe it’s someone’s handwriting or the way they smile, or the energy they bring to the table. Whatever it is, start your interactions by sharing something you appreciate about your conversation partner. You’ll find that they’ll open up to you fairly quickly, and you’ll find yourself connecting to the world around you on a deeper level than you may have expected!
· DON’T BE PICKY WHEN YOU PRACTICE GRATITUDE
You don’t have to reserve genuine gratitude for only the big things! You can practice gratitude in all things, big and small – from the way a pen fits your hand to the way the wind dances through the leaves on a late afternoon. Practicing gratitude for even the tiny things teaches you to appreciate the details and texture of your day-to-day life and makes your life all the richer for it!
Why exactly do we teach our children to be grateful? As it turns out, there’s a good, scientific reason to it. Research has shown that teens who appreciate what they have often become more satisfied and optimistic – indeed a boon during the troubled times of youth.
That said, this doesn’t mean that it’s too late for you to learn and practice gratitude. As it turns out, you can get started at any age and reap its benefits right there and then! Better late than never, indeed – and you can kickstart this life-changing skill by:
· BEGIN EACH DAY AND END EACH DAY WITH GRATITUDE
Start your day off on the right foot by considering something you’re grateful for in as much detail as possible and then bookending it on a similarly high note. What have you overlooked? Whose presences are you thankful for having in your life? It doesn’t have to be big or grand moments, and you don’t have to be the sole recipient of your opening and closing acts of gratefulness either. Think about how much you appreciate someone you care about, and inspire them by letting them know!
· THINK OF THREE GRATITUDES BEFORE YOU DO YOUR FIRST WORK TASK
It can be easy to forget active gratefulness, especially when trying to start a new habit. The easiest way to overcome this? Bundle it with something you already do regularly! That way, you’ll find it easier to form that new habit. Bonus points if you can relate your three gratitudes with your work or your team by sending them an email of appreciativeness before you start work. It’ll undoubtedly be a bright start to their day!
· IMAGINE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT THINGS
Have you ever considered just how many things have to go right so you can have clean water gush out of your tap every time? Or how would it feel if you didn’t have access to music and books to enjoy and inspire? Take a moment to consider just what your life would be like with the loss of an individual, a small thing you take for granted. For example, the fridge working or the lights switching on at a touch. It’s a great way to practice deep gratitude and helps you appreciate just how often things go right for us in ways we never see!
5. SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE
Despite how much we love our friends and family, it can be far too easy to take their presence in our lives for granted. It’s only in their absence do we start to realize how precious those little things about them are, which really shouldn’t be the case. Please don’t wait till it’s too late!
Instead, try to:
· LEAVE NO REGRETS
Focus on making memories in the here and now. Every moment should be an opportunity for you to make memories you can look back fondly on – whether it is something grand and exciting like paragliding or something small and domestic in how they look through the mist curling off their cup of tea.
· PAY ATTENTION
Gratitude and appreciation need to come from observation – so pay close attention to the ones you love. Look out for the little things they do that show they love you. Maybe they come to you first because they trust you or are physically comfortable with you on a level they don’t share with others. Whatever it is, it deserves due attention and encouragement.
· INITIATE THE CONVERSATION
With just how busy our lives are, it can be easy to forget to spend time with your loved ones. Think back to the last time you two really sat down and spent time together. Are you both up to date with what’s going on with your respective lives? When was the last time you gave them a moment of unadulterated attention? Even if you talk to them in a group chat daily, you’ll find that it’s no substitution for one-on-one quality time. So don’t wait for them – try reaching out first!
To connect to others, show them that you value them. Show them that you live a life where no one and nothing is taken for granted. Show them that you will be an excellent companion to them.
Your positivity will draw others in a while, giving you more jumping-off points to initiate a connection. In short, practice gratitude, appreciation, and compassion for others, and you’ll attract great people,