Gratitude is one of the most important skills you can cultivate. It can help you to truly appreciate the good things in your life, no matter how small they are. Gratitude can help you to feel happier with your life. This thanksgiving season is just the right time to practice being grateful. Implement a few basic steps to help you be grateful for the good circumstances in life.
Start a Gratitude List
A gratitude list can be an effective tool in developing a habit of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, or done in a fancy manner. Simply start a list of all the things you are grateful for. Try to start with 10 things, and then build from there. You can add multiple things to your list at one time, or simply add them as you think of them. The point is simply to be intentional about acknowledging the good things in your life. When you are feeling down, or having a particularly rough day look back over your list and count your blessings - literally!
Make Gratitude a Habit
The happiest people live in such a way that they are always giving thanks. When you are counting your personal blessings, don’t be afraid to express your gratitude to the people in your life. Many times we get so caught up in everyday tasks that we forget to thank our family and friends for the positive impact they have had on our lives. Verbalize your appreciation to them. Write a thank you note. Surprise them with their favorite treat when they are least expecting it. It will help them feel more loved, and deepen your relationship.
Choose Your Words Carefully
When life gets hard it is easy to become negative and complain about the situation. Rather than complaining, or giving in to the temptation to be pessimistic, choose to see the silver lining in the situation. Studies have shown that our self talk can literally have an impact on our brain function. Everyday Health states, “According to Andrew Newberg, MD, and Mark Robert Waldman, words can literally change your brain. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Positive words, like “peace” and “love,” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our front lobes and promoting the cognitive functioning of the brain. They propel the motivational centers of the brain into action, explain the authors, and build resiliency.”
Cultivate Gratitude Daily
No matter what methods you choose to implement, make gratitude a part of your everyday lifestyle. The more you express gratitude, the happier you will be. When you show appreciation for the good things in your life, you retrain your brain to look for more good things in the future. Choose to acknowledge the good things in your life, and show your appreciation daily. You will be well on your way to establishing a lifelong habit of gratitude. Make Thanksgiving a holiday you celebrate all year long.