Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust
Gratitude & Travel
It’s easy to get caught up in the thick of things.
For a long time, I took a lot for granted.
It wasn’t until I began travelling and saw how other people lived around the world that I realised how many things in life I took for granted.
Things such as:
- A warm shower in the morning
- Access to free health care
- Access to quality education
- Access to clean water
- Ability to travel the world and experience new things
- Freedom to move freely between countries
- Freedom to set up businesses and pursue my passions
Most of the items in the list above are considered the “bare necessities of life” in Western Society and are expected by people living countries such as England and Germany.
But this isn’t the case for a lot of countries around the world, and travelling gave me the slap in the face that I needed.
I had been living in my own little bubble all my life and held very high expectations about the world.
More importantly, travel introduced me to the power of gratitude.
The Power of Gratitude
Gratitude is without doubt one of the most powerful emotions a human being can feel.
Studies have revealed that gratitude can improve your mood and health, contributing to sustainable happiness.
In addition, this article outlines with scientific evidence that gratitude has been scientifically proven to:
- Improve your relationships
- Improve your happiness and joy
- Improve sleep
- Improves your mindset
- Improves mental strength
- Enhances empathy
- Reduce aggression, stress and negativity in life
There’s no denying that gratitude has immense power, but how can we learn to become more grateful in life?
A Few Ideas For Becoming More Grateful
Ever since starting travelling, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to improve my own gratitude towards the things I experience in life. Here are some of my thoughts.
1 – Consciously Look For Things To Be Grateful For
Whether it’s the smile of a stranger in the street, the smell of flowers on a summer’s day or a phone call from a childhood friend, gratitude is all around you, and if you’re willing to look there’s always something to celebrate and be grateful for.
Through travel i realised i held very high expectations and decided something needed to change.
I started to look for things around me in day-to-day life to be more grateful for.
In doing so I stopped rushing from place to place, became more alert and took my time to look around, and appreciate life.
2 – Make A Gratitude List
Writing things down on paper gives things life and energy, and is a great way to reflect on and bring attention to things that you are grateful for in life.
It’s a simple exercise that only takes 5 minutes and can have a very profound effect.
Sit down in a quiet room, take a piece of paper and make a list of the top 5 things you are grateful for in life.
From breathing fresh air, to your new shoes, to being lucky with the traffic lights this morning, you can be grateful for anything.
If you find it easy to write 5 things, then go for 10, and 20 and so on.
Fold this piece of paper up and put it in your wallet.
Whenever you’re feeling down or ungrateful, take out the piece of paper and read it back to yourself.
This is a very powerful exercise which can help bring back perspective of gratitude when you lose focus.
3 – Pass on the Gratitude
Great relationships are crucial for living a happy and fulfilling life.
Are there some special people in your life that you are grateful for? Have you never taken the time to let them know?
It’s not too late.
Don’t message them on Facebook. Don’t call them. Go now, and visit them in person.
If you can’t visit them in person, then there’s no excuse to take the time to write them a letter.
Simple kind gestures like this are powerful and can have a knock on effect because gratitude is contagious.
4 – Start A Gratitude Journal
For the last 11 months, I’ve been keeping a daily gratitude journal. At the end of each day, I’ll reflect for 5-10 minutes and write down 1 thing (yes, just one thing) that I’m grateful for that day.
Some people write 3 things, but for habits sake and to take off the mental pressure, it might be useful to start with one thing.
However, there is a catch and there’s one stipulation for your gratitude journal:
You can write down anything you are grateful for, but it can never something you have previously recorded in your journal.
Never break the chain, and over time, this process is powerful as it will encourage you to think more deeply about the things you are grateful for in life.
And here’s an even bigger challenge that I want you to participate in: Are you going to join me and keep a gratitude journal for the rest of your life?
5 – Mantra: ABG
A friend introduced me to a powerful gratitude mantra that I want to share with you.
ABG: Always Be Grateful
This succinct little reminder has been useful for giving me perspective when I find myself losing perspective.
My friend sets daily alarms on his phone that remind him of this mantra. If you don’t want to take it that far, why not write it down on a piece of paper and stick it in your wallet with your gratitude list?
If you are willing to look, there’s always something to be grateful for.
In my experience travelling, I’ve found that the small things in life always become the most precious and important.
Remind yourself to always be grateful because, life in itself is a blessing and that we are able to be here and embrace experience in all of its glory.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,
Please share the article and join the discussion below by posting your comments.
If you like reading articles from The Zen Nomad, feel free to subscribe to our mailing list here to receive content directly to your inbox.
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Daniel – a 25-year-old entrepreneur and writer from the north of England. I am fascinated by the human experience, especially the connection between travel, life and personal development.
For the last 4 years I’ve been on transformational journey, travelling 40 countries across 4 continents.
Along the way, I discovered that travel is a great catalyst for one’s personal growth, and now I want to empower and inspire others to hit the road and embark on their own journey.