Like any other habit the habit of gratitude needs to be practiced until it becomes a permanent part of your life, until it becomes a lifestyle. We've been encouraged as children to say thank you when someone gives us something. The feeling that goes with that is one of appreciation for you the receiver but the giver also appreciates your gratitude and wants to give you more.
Ever given something to someone who refused to say thank you? You don't feel very enthusiastic about giving anything else to that person anymore do you? As a matter of fact you may have regretted giving anything to that person in the first place.
Think about the universe. Giving and receiving is a law of nature. Gratitude is the physical expression or outward symbol or display to the universe that you are ready and open to receive the energy of goodness as it flows through the matrix of life. Water constantly flows through the open river bed, but if the river is blocked by debris it hinders the natural flow.
Similarly, the debris of ingratitude hinders the natural flow of blessings from coming into your life. It is the law of giving and receiving at work when we release our thankfulness.
So how do we create the habit of gratitude?
You must first make a firm decision that gratitude/thankfulness will be a part of your life, your lifestyle. Making the decision gets your mind in gear to look for all the good things in your life, even those hidden within the hard shell of adversity.
2) Become consciously aware
Look around you. Become aware of what you already have. Look for them diligently and look for other situations to be thankful for. Okay, you woke up this morning and thought that you have nothing to be thankful for because your situation looks very bleak. What about the breath that you just took? What about the fact that you are even reading this right now. It may seem like a small thing but here you are breathing in life into your body. Here you are being encouraged to look at life from a different perspective. Start here with what you have.
3) Appreciate the small things
Remember, every oak tree was once a tiny seed. Don't underestimate the size of small things. They hold within them the potential to grow into large things. Start with the small things in your life. "I am thankful for my food. Thank you for providing for me every day. I am alive and well." Start from there and nurture it each day with your attitude of gratitude. Soon enough you'll begin to see all your good starting to expand and grow.
4) Set time aside
To help you remember, try to set aside a scheduled time to do this. Or implement it into something that you're already doing during the day - perhaps each time you sit to eat. Make it your conscious effort. Then expand it into first thing as you open your eyes in the morning and last thing before you fall asleep. What about when you take a shower or bath? That can also be a gratitude shower or bath time.
Think of more creative ways that you can use to make gratitude/thankfulness your daily habit. Don't forget to practice the mental shift when adverse situations come up. Shift your mind from focusing on the negative and speak your gratitude. It will lift you out of that place of hopelessness into a positive energy wave to turn your situation around.