As stores boldly usher in everything that glitters to fuel commercialism and boost economy, I would like to take a moment to spotlight a less-popular but crucially significant holiday, Thanksgiving. Does the busyness of this season already cause your blood pressure to spike as you think of all the shopping, cooking, gift-buying, decorating, and preparations that must be made? If so, I have good news-and something that may help.
According to a Harvard Medical School study, those who practice habits of gratitude have some significant health benefits. In their study, individuals who simply wrote about events that occurred over the previous week for which they were grateful were more optimistic about their future and had less visits to the doctor than those who did not. Other studies concluded intentional gratitude practices increased work productivity, improved relationships, and heightened overall satisfaction with life.
With gratitude, one acknowledges the goodness in our lives. When we Gratitude can be described as thankful appreciation for what an individual receives -whether tangible or intangible.
We also know that practicing thankfulness helps with self-esteem, sleep, positivity, and mental health. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”. What’s to lose? Here are some simple ways toward developing an attitude of gratitude. What are your ideas?
- Write a thank you note to someone for something they did for you-small or large-that made an impact on your life.
- Send a text thanking someone for their encouragement or support and tell them what it meant to you.
- Keep a “Blessings Book” and pen on your counter. Encourage anyone in the family to jot down good things that happen. Read them once a week at dinner. (This helps savor good experiences throughout the week and also trains us to look expectantly for good things to happen!)
- Seek out someone in your business and thank them for their hard work on a project that might have gone unnoticed.
- Find a child and point out a positive character trait he or she is demonstrating.
- Write a sticky note to someone in your family, telling them why you appreciate them. (My family does this once a week at our Family Meeting. We call these Gratitude Grabbers just for fun!)
- Call a relative and ask them questions about their heritage. Thank them for the part they played in your family tree.
- Thank a community helper around your home with a small gift (mailperson, trash collector, dry cleaners, salonist, police officer, firefighter)
- Brainstorm and come up with a job that’s least likely to receive gratitude (like an employee at the DMV) and surprise a stranger with flowers or candy. Wouldn’t they remember it forever!
- Tell someone thank you, “your kindness will be remembered” and mean it!