There are many platitudes about gratitude. At first blush, gratitude can seem simply pollyanna or even spoof-worthy. It’s easy to write it off as the comfort zone of eternal optimists…until you try it.
There’s actually science behind gratitude and the research shows these benefits:
- increased happiness and positive mood
- more satisfaction with life
- less materialistic
- less likely to experience burnout
- overall better physical health, sleep and less fatigue
- lower levels of cellular inflammation
- greater resiliency
- encourages the development of patience, humility, and wisdom
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Especially now in our current COVID-19 reality…why wouldn’t you want to practice gratitude? Let’s take a look at a few easy ways to get you started.
Focus on What Gratitude Looks Like. Gratitude is a worldview that notices and appreciates the positive things in life. It is about honoring and appreciating people, recognizing what you have, seeing beauty in the everyday, and seeing what is good in the present moment. Think about how good it feels to have a ray of sunshine on your face after a long winter or to taste the first strawberry of the season or to take a hot shower after a long day. These are all examples of small moments of gratitude that can instantly change our mood and our point of view.
Express Gratitude for Others. Beyond thanking someone for a kindness, it is telling them that you are grateful to know them, to have them on your team or in your life. Think about the power of these words: I’m grateful for your friendship. I’m grateful for your leadership. I’m grateful that you came by today. I’m grateful that you remembered me. I’m grateful that you are my family.
Write in a Gratitude Journal. It’s as simple as writing down what you are grateful for today. You can choose any time of day to write that works for you. It can be in an old-fashioned print journal or you can use one of the many gratitude apps. It can become a healthy, lifelong habit that you look forward to each day.
Create Your Own Gratitude Rituals. You can take an existing routine you have and incorporate gratitude. For example, as you are making dinner with your family, significant other or room-mates, you establish a ritual where you each say what you are grateful for today. You could transform your walk into a gratitude walk where you take note of all the things along your walk you are grateful for: I am grateful to live in this neighborhood. am grateful to hear the birds sing and to see the sunlight streaming the leaves. I am grateful for the ability to move my legs and be mobile.
Guided Gratitude Meditations. You can also listen to guided meditations that focus on gratitude. I use both the Calm and Shine apps which are helpful to inspire you with ideas and get you into the right frame of mind.
There are many things that we can’t control in the world around us. What we can control is how we choose to see the world and to live in it. Shift your attitude with gratitude and open up your mind and heart to a new world of possibility.