We just celebrated thanksgiving few days back. I think practicing gratitude is important everyday, not just on a designated holiday. Gratitude is the process of reflecting, each day in a conscious way, things you are grateful for.
Several research studies have been done to see the effects of expressing gratitude on well being. Overall, they all come out with this - people who expressed gratitude in a conscious way each day, experienced significant gains in happiness and life satisfaction, or felt better and optimistic about their lives even when they wrote a few lines each week about things happened to them recently, that they were grateful for. Studies have also shown that maintaining a gratitude journal may even help improve sleep.
Some easy ways that I have discovered and used to express my gratitude -
Noticing a good thing - Make a note each day of one thing that is going right in your life. You could write it in a journal, diary or type it out. The key is to make that conscious effort of reflecting and expressing (saying it aloud works too ). Do this each day. Journaling before bedtime has worked the best for me.
An act of kindness - Practice expressing your gratitude towards one person in your life each day. Could be a parent, family member, friend or a stranger. To a great extent, this happens a lot during the holiday season. We are all stressed trying to get a lot done and often have an argument or lash out at our loved ones without meaning to. There are such good people in our lives. So, practicing this will help us focus on the good in these people and create a positive and healing environment for all to live in.
At mealtimes, Think about the people who played a role get the food to your table and acknowledge them. The farmer who grew the food, the workers who picked the crop, the drivers who transported it and so on.
Try Not to complain about things like someone cutting you in traffic or a person in front of you in a line taking too long to pay. Every time we complain, we put ourselves in a negative state of mind and never focus on the solution therefore. Next time you feel frustrated or terrible take some deep breaths and take a mental note of something better around. I like to see and appreciate nature around, take a deep breath of the fresh air, consciously listen to the birds chirp or watch the flowers bloom.
Practice some of these techniques every day for at least three weeks to see the effect or create your own unique ways to express your gratitude. When you become thankful for the things and people in your life, you find inner peace, ways to express your creativity and be successful.
How would you express your gratitude? Please share your unique ways to do so.