Practicing Gratitude

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Practicing Gratitude

With constant access to social media, it is easy to develop feelings of inadequacy in the 21st century. We are flooded with Instagram images of people’s seemingly perfect lives. People seem to have the right physiques, the perfect partners, the best way to apply makeup or style their hair. We see images of the latest cell phone, the biggest houses, or the most expensive cars everywhere we look on television, on social media, or we even hear them mentioned on the radio as we drive to work.

It is not surprising that we start to feel like we are missing a lot of things in our lives. We easily forget all of the things that we do have that, when closely examined, we are very grateful for.

Marketing strategies include designing advertisements to create this exact feeling. In other words, companies are subtly telling you, “You need our product. If you don’t have this product in your life, then you won’t have X in your life.” Companies want to manipulate you into thinking having the fastest car will attract a great partner and make you happy. They want to sell you the makeup that they promise will make you look fashionable, so that others turn their heads and notice.

It is easy to get lost in this deluge of unrealistic and altered images, which is why practicing gratitude is so important to maintaining your mental wellness in our society. Recognizing the things we have to be thankful for can help to alleviate some of those feelings of jealousy and inadequacy.

What Does Practicing Gratitude Look Like?

The act can take several different forms, and it is up to you to identify the ones that work best for you. Some people prefer to actively write down each day what they are grateful for in a gratitude journal. This can be a simple notebook that you keep by your bedside table and write in first thing in the morning.

Other people practice gratitude by silently acknowledging the things they are grateful for in their lives in an evening prayer or meditation session. Some people also choose to use apps to send reminders for them to remain grateful and recognize the things they cherish. You can set alerts to gently remind you to take a look around you and acknowledge the richness of your personal life.

Why Is This Practice So Important?

Psychology Today states that the benefits of gratitude are much more than you may think. People who are grateful for aspects of their lives tend to sleep better, have more sympathy for others, and enjoy overall better health. Self-esteem can also improve, as being grateful reduces the desire to compare yourself to others.

Next time you find yourself wishing you had that so-called “perfect” Instagram pose, you can instead take a moment to feel grateful that you don’t have a job that requires you to re-take the same photo dozens of times. You can be grateful that you have chosen to express yourself in a way that you personally love, like your talent for singing or helping others. You can also choose to be grateful that there are artists out there who are having fun with social media and exploring their own ways to explore their creativity.

With enough practice, you will start to incorporate gratitude into more areas of your life and begin feeling less inadequate.

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