Do you want more from your life?
More happiness? Better health? Deeper relationships? Increased productivity?
Gratitude is an attitude and way of living that has been shown to have many benefits in terms of health, happiness, satisfaction with life, and the way we relate to others.
Feeling and expressing gratitude turns our mental focus to the positive, which compensates for our brains’ natural tendency to focus on threats, worries, and negative aspects of life. As such, gratitude creates positive emotions like joy, love, and contentment which research shows can undo the grip of negative emotions like anxiety. Fostering gratitude can also broaden your thinking, and create positive cycles of thinking and behaving in healthy, positive ways.
5 Ways You Can Be More Grateful
1. Think of a person who has helped you in life. It may be a teacher, friend, parent, or mentor. Spend a few minutes reflecting on the ways they have helped you and the benefits you have gained as a result. Then write them a heartfelt card, call or visit them to tell them how their help has improved your life. If you are no longer in contact, write the card anyway and then keep it to remind you to feel grateful.
2. Take a walk in nature or in your garden. As you do so, think about all the ways that nature helps us to sustain life and feel happier and more comfortable. Focus on feeling grateful for the fresh air and water, the natural beauty of a flower, the peace that the ocean, lakes, or mountains give you, or the shade of a tree.
3. Think of somebody in your life that helps you on a daily or weekly basis: a partner, parent, best friend, beloved pet, boss, teacher, cleaner, or babysitter. Spend a week observing and focusing on all the different ways in which they make your life happier or more comfortable. Make a plan to do something special for them to show your appreciation.
4. As you sit down to dinner at night, think about the people who helped this food get on your table. This may include the farmer who grew the food, the workers who picked the crops, the drivers who transported it, the person who earned money to pay for the food, and so on.
5. Think about how you can live a life that conveys gratitude to the planet for all that we have. Don’t overuse water or electricity, recycle, buy sustainable products, donate to charity, volunteer to help the needy, work in an animal shelter, or clean up a natural area. Get involved in your community. Living responsibly and doing acts of service should help you feel good about your life and more aware of your connection to other living things.
One of the marvelous things about gratitude – it has no upper limit. You can be as grateful as you want to be. And what better time to start than this week?