|Many of us may remember back when we were in elementary school and Thanksgiving was coming up. We would inevitably be given the assignment to make a list of things we were thankful for, which would typically include the usual: family, friends, pets, and maybe even our toys. This is a nice introduction for kids to learn how to appreciate the people and things in their lives, but it’s only once a year. Now that we’re all grown up, why don’t we kick it up a notch and try practicing gratitude on a daily basis? Feeling grateful for even the tiniest little thing (hello, pumpkin latte!), when done on a regular basis, can truly change your life for the better. Some of the ways practicing gratitude can improve your life include:
- Higher self-esteem- Feeling grateful for what you have can keep you out of the compare-and-despair mindset. Let go of trying to keep up with the Joneses!
- Increased productivity- When you’re feeling thankful, you’re less likely to worry, which can consume your mind and prevent you from taking action. Freeing your mind of unnecessary concerns opens you up to focusing on what you CAN do and not on what you CAN’T.
- Better relationships- Practicing gratitude can make you more friendly, lovable, and a pleasure to be around. Your positive outlook can have an impact on those around you!
- More energy– There’s a strong correlation between gratitude and vitality, so when you’re feeling grateful, you’ll feel more energized which will also make you more likely to exercise!
- Improved sleep- Keeping a gratitude journal in the evenings helps you to focus on the good, which will allow you to go to bed with a relaxed mind so you can sleep better.
Gratitude is free and doesn’t take a lot of time. On those difficult days when you’re struggling to find anything to be thankful for, it’s even more important to practice gratitude. Here’s how:
When everything seems to be going wrong, find one thing, no matter how small, that makes you feel content. It could be as simple as the sun shining on a beautiful day, the sound of your cat purring, or another car letting you merge ahead of them in traffic. Smile, say thank you (in your head or out loud) and savor the feeling of satisfaction.