Location-Based Gratitude: A simple way to build a gratitude habit

The human condition is meant to be in a state of restlessness. No positive life event — be it love or material possessions will be satisfying for long. The state of happiness is dynamic, not static.

It’s a cruel part of the Homo Sapiens DNA but one that may have helped us not go extinct.

One of the theories why we are never content is the notion of negativity bias. Negativity bias state that we will always fixate on what is wrong or what we don’t have in our lives (the negative) rather than what is going right and what we do have (the positive and neutral).

Contentment with our lives is a myth. The game is rigged. Once you understand that, you can take some measures like gratitude to counter the negativity effect.

Here comes Gratitude

Gratitude in layman’s terms is counting our blessings. Being thankful. Simple, right?

Sure, but how often do you stop to acknowledge everything you have? If you are like me, probably not often. Yet, the research is clear that gratitude increases well-being.

Why? It is probably countering our natural mindset of focusing on the negative.

Now that we have a basic premise of what and why we should practice gratitude, what is the best way to get started?

Journaling and meditation are great ideas but if you want something easier and simpler, my recommendation is what I call “location-based gratitude”.

The idea is to harness your smartphone’s built-in GPS to give you small reminders to be grateful when you arrive somewhere.

Everyone has a reminder app on their phone to check something off their “to-do list” but rarely do people use the geolocation feature to send a reminder to their phone (or watch) when they arrive or leave a certain location.

One way to implement this is to figure out what locations give you great joy and set up a location reminder to take a moment to reflect on how much you appreciate going there. This could be the place itself or the people who reside there. This could be visiting family/friends, your favorite restaurant, a music venue, etc. Think of places that bring joy and happiness.

One of the neat features of this type of reminder is that GPS is not precise enough to remind you exactly when you arrive. Your phone creates a “geofence” around the location, so you will always be notified a minute or so before you get there. This gives you that moment to feel grateful right before you arrive.

Configuring the Location-Based Gratitude Reminders and Examples

Here is how I implement these reminders in my life.

  • Location-based reminder when I arrive at my parent’s place (time with your parents is short after college).
  • When I arrive at my girlfriend’s place. I share with her what I am grateful for and she does the same. Trying to create a gratitude ritual.
  • A few places that bring me happiness. There are a few music venues that give me great joy. I try to appreciate the venue and the artist I am about to go see perform.
Using the ticktick app to create location reminders

Taking Things for Granted

Adding a bit of gratitude into your life might seem inconsequential but just remember the small things in life are the big things.

I hope you give this a try. And if you do, please leave a comment and let me know where you set your location(s) and why.

If you liked this article, visit my blog at yournexthabit.com where I explore unconscious intentions.

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Irfan

I write actionable ideas and stories about behavioral change. Check out my blog yournexthabit.com for more!