Gratitude… the key to health and happiness. Just in time for my favorite holiday of Thanksgiving!
Did you know gratitude will increase your joy in life and dampen your stress response. It may even enhance your immune function! Studies show that gratitude is a habit, just like flossing. Give it a try today…
Here’s a few tips for practicing gratitude
- Keep a gratitude journal – one of the most effective ways to cultivate appreciation is to write it down. I often have patients keep a journal and right down five things before bed that made them happy of thankful that day. A recent study showed people who make a simple list of what they are thankful for are 25% more happy, exercise 33% more each week, and sleep a half hour more each night. Each evening replay your day recalling the kind gestures, everyday pleasures and positive interactions that filled it. Do this every day and soon it will become habit and you will reap the rewards of grateful living!
- Express yourself It’s contagious if you share your thankful heart with those around you! Be specific and consider mailing or delivering a handwritten note of thanks. Make a habit of thanking those who serve you each day and often go unnoticed.. the mailman, the barber, the waitress, the supermarket checkout clerk, the dog sitter, etc…
- See a bigger picture – grateful people spot the positive in every situation without denying the hurt. Gratitude is an and experience… you may be having trouble at work or with finances or with a child or spouse but there is always something good in the midst of struggle, too. Practice seeing the additional blessings that can be easily missed. There really is always blessings to be found.
- Celebrate Thanksgiving every day! – Many families do a round of thanksgiving at the dinner table each night. My husband & I have a special box into which we drop notes of gratitude. Then at the end of the year, we read them together to remind us of all the good things God has done for us. Sometimes we’ll even read old notes from years past to remind us of blessings that we would have otherwise forgotten. You can pray at mealtime to remind your self of simple provisions that we take for granted. It also serves to connect family members and deepen relationships.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
~ Maya Angelou