It is probably not surprising for you to hear that being grateful is good for you – physically, mentally, and emotionally. In an article published by Forbes, psychotherapist Amy Morin, relays seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. In her article, she states that having an attitude of gratitude can:
- Open the door to better relationships,
- Improve physical health,
- Improve psychological health,
- Enhance empathy and reduce aggression,
- Help you sleep better,
- Improve self-esteem, and
- Increase mental strength.
These benefits are sought after and attained by many, but there are those among us who find themselves on the struggle bus when it comes to finding reasons to be grateful. Life is just hard sometimes –it truly is- and, for them, finding even one small thing for which to be grateful is a monumental task. The good news, however, is that gratitude can be grown and nurtured within even the most discouraged to become a bigger, more significant part of his or her everyday life. Here are a few suggestions:
- Be present. Often we spend our days too busy or laden with worries, to the point it hinders our enjoyment of the moment(s) we’re in. Make an attempt to stop yourself from time to time to acknowledge the blessings of that moment, even if it’s only for a short time.
- Actively look for things for which to be grateful and express it. Be purposeful in finding opportunities to say a sincere “thank you” more often.
- Set a day aside in which you will steer clear of complaining or passing judgment for the entire day. If a day is too long, start with a morning or an afternoon (or an hour!) and work up to a full day.
- Once a week write a letter of thankfulness. Think of someone who has made a positive difference in your life and let them know every detail of what they mean to you and how they have so significantly impacted your life.
- Start a gratitude journal. Determine that you will list 2-3 things (or more) a day for which you are thankful. Nothing is too big or too small to add to your journal – a dependable car or finding your favorite pen; a specific family member’s thoughtfulness or the cat’s funny antics; a successful Christmas dinner or a quiet evening at home.
- In my newest book, The Self-Aware Life, I have detailed a simple meditation/breathing exercise to increase gratitude and decrease daily stress. It involves stopping two to four times in the middle of your day to breathe deeply and silently express thanks. So simple, but profoundly valuable.
Increasing gratitude is life changing. If you are looking for ways to develop gratitude, select one or two of these plans and give it a go! They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, pick the idea that appeals most to you and start there. After 21 days, choose another that interests you and put it to the 21-day test. Let us know how it works for you!
To learn more about gratitude, pick up your copy of
The Self-Aware Life, Four Pillars to Long-Lasting Fulfillment and Success
as You Go Through Life’s Transitions
and The Self-Aware Workbook today!