Do you practice gratitude?
Usually, when people talk about ways to improve your sense of gratitude or things you can do to better your mental health, our technology gets a bad rep.
You will see recommendations about limiting screen time because of things like blue light exposure, increased depression and anxiety, and reduced productivity because of distractions.
These things are factual and you do want to monitor how much time you spend on the phone, but the flip side is that you can use your phone to do things that benefit your mental health too! Your cellphone does not have to necessarily become this monster that should be avoided at all costs.
Here are few ways you can use your cell phone to practice gratitude, which is great for your mental health. In fact, according to Harvard Health, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ― Melody Beattie
Set your lock screen photo with intent
What does your lock screen look like right now? Is it a meme? A stock photo? Or maybe it’s a picture of your kids, dogs, or other family members. Mine is a beautiful picture of my oldest daughter that was taken in Glacier. She looks happy and beautiful and is surrounded by trees.
When I look at it, I am reminded of just how grateful I am for her in my life. I see her smiling face and it makes me happy. The green, nature-filled background also makes me feel grateful that could explore such a gorgeous spot in the world.
If you are wasting this small opportunity to find a little gratitude during your busy day, then I highly recommend picking a lock screen photo intending to practice gratitude. You could even make a collage of photos and use that as your background!
This is more important than you might think because of the number of times the average person looks at their lock screen. Statista did a generational study in 2018 to find out how many times people checked their phones, and these results were a little shocking! The average Gen-Z unlocks their cell phone 79 times a day! Millennials come in right behind them at 63. Gen-X opens their phones an average of 49 times per day.
Just think how many grateful moments you could have with a lock screen that reminded you of the important things or people in your lives.
“Everyone enjoys being acknowledged and appreciated. Sometimes even the simplest act of gratitude can change someone’s entire day. Take the time to recognize and value the people around you and appreciate those who make a difference in your lives.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Use your cellphone as a gratitude journal
Another way that you can foster gratitude in your everyday life is by creating a gratitude journal. And you have the perfect thing in your hand and readily accessible to do just that. You can simply open up your “Notes” or ‘Google Keep’ app on your phone, title it Gratitude Journal, date it, and start jotting down things you are grateful for.
When you are scrolling on social media and come across a meme or picture that reminds you to be grateful you can copy the link, and add it to your journal for future reference. You can keep adding to this daily, and even use the settings to make it private (password required to open notes) if you want to.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ― Seneca
Using social media platforms to find gratitude
So many of us are on some form of social media; whether we prefer Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or use all three! You can post a picture of something you are grateful for every day, and then it will pop up in your memories at some point reminding you again of things you used to be grateful for!
If you want to encourage your friends you could even start a post asking them to post a picture of something they are grateful for, while sharing the post on their own page.
This could start a chain reaction of people focusing on gratitude, and you never know who might need some help to remember the importance of gratitude.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
Apps to download on your phone to remind you to be grateful
Now, you can even take your phone a step further in your quest for practicing gratitude. There are several apps out there with fresh ideas and features that are designed to help one express gratitude and improve mood. Here is a list of a few to check out!
This app is available in both the App Store and Google Play. It has a 4.6 rating, over 16k users, and offers both a free and a paid version. Some features available are a daily journal, vision board, affirmations, and challenges. It is colorful, offers prompts and reminders for those looking to get started with practicing gratitude.
This app is available on both platforms too, so no matter what phone you are using, you should be able to access it. It is free and has much fewer users than Gratitude, but it has a 4.7 rating. This one has fewer features but some excellent journal prompts! You can choose from some of these: Best Possible Future, Could be Worse, Honoring People, and Three Good Things, Transforming Problems. There are more too, and the app offers an informational blurb filled with recent gratitude research so the user understands why it is helpful.
Reflectly Journal & AI Diary
This last app is also available on both platforms, and has the most users, at more than 69k! It has a 4.6 rating and offers a free version and a paid version. It has many similar features to the other two apps, but one big difference is that it will have you rate your mood. This can be a helpful tool to gain insight into what causes you the most stress.
As you can see, your phone can also be used for good! To quote Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” and our cell phones are one powerful piece of technology for sure. Use them to the full capabilities in ways that will improve your daily life, increase your happiness, and help you foster a sense of gratitude.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes in life where it can be incredibly difficult for us to remember why we are grateful, which is why having daily practices like this is so important. If you can do this on the days when life is a little easier, it will become a habit, and you will teach your brain to look at things in an alternative way.
Our brains are wired to look at the negative things first, and practicing gratitude will help us switch up the way we process negative information. Even in our darkest days, there is something to be grateful for, and if we spend time teaching our brains to find that thing, then we can increase our resilience.
“Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart.” ― Larissa Gomez
Let us know your favorite way to practice gratitude! Also, feel free to share any other ways that you use your phone to remind you to be grateful, and if you have a favorite app, you use that wasn’t mentioned! You can do all that in the comment section below.