Be grateful and show gratitude.
Being truly grateful is so much more that just saying “thank you” to someone. True gratitude is thankfulness and acknowledging everything that you receive. Gratitude consists of noticing simple pleasures and being aware of how much you’ve been given. When you exist within a state of gratitude the focus in your life changes from what you lack to all that you already have.
Furthermore, scientific research has shown that gratitude can have positive impacts on our health and well being:
- People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis have been found to exercise more regularly, have fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and feel more optimistic about their upcoming weeks as compared to those who keep journals recording the stressors or neutral events of their lives.
- Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy and sleep duration and quality. Grateful people also report lower levels of depression and stress, although they do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
- People who think about, talk about or write about gratitude daily are more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to another person.
- Those with a disposition towards gratitude are found to place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own or others success in terms of possessions accumulated, are less envious of wealthy people, and are more likely to share their possessions with others.
- Emerging research suggests that daily gratitude practices may have some preventative benefits in warding off coronary artery disease.
How to be grateful:
Gratitude can start from the simplest actions:
- Notice all the good things that are already in your life – a home to live in, a car that runs, health for you and your children, the ability to vote, food to eat, and so on.
- Express to others the gratitude you feel towards them for things they have done for you, or for just being in your life.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal. Every day write down a few things that you are grateful for that day. This way, when you have times of doubt and hardship, you can look to this journal to remind yourself of all that you have.
Pick five things in your life that you are truly grateful for – your kids, your job, your health, etc. – and think of these things throughout the day.