Gratitude Changes Everything
Would having Thanksgiving every day improve our health? Yes. But this doesn’t mean heaping our plates full of turkey, gravy, stuffing and pie daily. It means being grateful every day.
One of the special things about Thanksgiving is expressing our gratitude. The holiday reminds us to pause, reflect and see the blessings in our lives.
Can we be grateful every day even when we feel overwhelmed or when upsetting events occur? Yes. That’s when you need an extra dose of gratitude that can give you a new perspective.
Gratitude is an attitude – a sense of appreciation for the gifts in our life. Research shows that practicing gratitude can make you healthier and happier. It improves sleep, boosts immunity and improves relationships. Focusing on blessings can help ward off depression and build resilience in times of stress and grief. While we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can choose how we feel about it.
Some techniques to help you to build your sense of gratitude:
- Start The Day With Gratitude. As soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, practice gratitude. Take a few deep breaths and think about three people in your life that you are grateful for. While breathing in slowly and deeply, visualize the first person. Then send him or her your silent gratitude as you breathe out. Repeat the exercise with each person. To remind you to do this practice, write a sticky note with the word “Gratitude” on it and post it in your bathroom or put it in your calendar.
- Keep A Gratitude Journal. Studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal one to three times per week might actually have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling every day. Write down three things for which you feel grateful. The things you list can be relatively small in importance, such as someone opening the door for you or feeling a breeze on your face. The goal of the exercise is to remember a good event, experience or people in your life—then savor the positive emotions that come with it. Write down how these events made you feel at the time and how this event makes you feel now.
- Count Your Blessings, Not Sheep. Before going to sleep or if you awaken during the night and can't sleep, review the things you have done that day and the people in your life and look for moments that make you realize how fortunate you are.
“Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted…The root of joy is gratefulness...It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” David Steindal-Rast (Benedictine Monk)
Meet others talking about how they incorporate gratitude into daily life in the gratitude discussion.