Now that we’ve officially entered into November, talk about giving thanks (AKA gratitude) is beginning to crop up everywhere. And for good reason. According to research, gratitude is an incredibly powerful tool. Used regularly, it can help you feel better, both physically and mentally.
Some of the benefits of a regular gratitude practice:
- fewer aches and pains
- more (and better) relationships
- enhanced empathy
- reduced aggression
- better sleep
- improved self-esteem
- more resilience
- more energy
- increased time spent exercising
- increased productivity and work performance
Gratitude: the more you do it, the better you’ll feel. (That’s what she said.)
I’m ever grateful for the number of posts talking about the importance of gratitude during the month of November; it makes my heart happy to see it get some much-deserved press.
Most people fall off the Gratitude Express the minute Thanksgiving passes.
I’d love to see that spirit continue throughout the year. Here are some tips to help you stay the course and create a sustainable gratitude practice.
Schedule time in your calendar.
The Husband has a recurring appointment set for Mondays at 2 PM so that he can take time out of his day and think about what he is grateful for. When The Husband handed down his old computer, the reminder got passed along to me. More times than not, the reminder caught us both at a time when we needed it the most.
Say thank you.
When someone does something nice for you, however small, say thank you. It will brighten their day, and help to make yours that much better. To quote Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Do a random act of kindness.
Show your gratitude for others by doing something nice without any recognition or need for acknowledgment. It’s liberating. It’s amazing. And it allows you to connect to something bigger than yourself. Need ideas? Check out the Random Acts of Kindness website. There are a plethora.
Find the good in the bad.
We assign meaning to every single event, thought, and action in our lives. Why not try to find the good in situations that stress you out, make you cry, or even get you shouting a few expletives? Who knows, you might realize that it’s the “bad” situations that have taught you the most, and helped you get to a better place in life.
Start your day off right.
Every morning you open your eyes, make a conscious effort to start it off on a positive note. Try to find at least 3 things each morning that you are grateful for. Even if it’s that you are here to witness another morning. You’ll be amazed at how much better your day flows.
Go to bed happy.
Just like starting your day with 3 things that you are grateful for, end your day in the same way. While you’re laying in bed at night, think about the wonderful things that happened to you during the day and make a mental list. Better yet, keep a little notebook by your bed and write them down.
Smile and laugh every day.
When we smile, our brains take that as a cue to say we’re happy. Even when we’re faking it. Same with laughing. Do something every day that will make you smile; try laughter yoga, watch a funny YouTube video, or catch a comedy show. Doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you smile.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which approach you choose. It matters that you do it, consistently. Because when you do, you will begin to see the magic happening.
Get your gratitude practice on!
And make some magic!