Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Updated: Apr 13
According to Harvard Health, “Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
In practicing gratitude, we can improve our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Research shows individuals who regularly practice gratitude report a wide range of benefits, including fewer aches and pains, improved sleep, increased happiness and self-esteem, less anxiety and depression, greater resilience, and deeper relationships. Those who practice gratitude also tend to invest more time and effort into their overall health, including regular exercise, healthier nutrition and regular health check-ups.
Here are just a few ideas to develop an attitude of gratitude:
Keep a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but make it meaningful. Start with simply listing 3-5 things each day that you are grateful for.
Express your gratitude to others. Smile, say thank you, open the door for someone, take time to volunteer. Watch out, though…gratitude can be contagious!
Practice meditation and/or prayer. If you’re new to meditation, there are a wide variety of resources available online, as well as books and apps. Three of my favorite apps I recommend to clients and use myself are Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace.
Keep physical reminders around you that help you focus on gratitude. Write positive affirmations or scripture on sticky notes where you will see them frequently, wear a piece of jewelry that makes you think of gratitude, or set a positive wallpaper or screensaver on your devices.
Surround yourself with like-minded people. We are highly influenced by the people we spend the most time with, including how we think, talk, act, dress, and feel. Choose wisely!
A commitment to practice gratitude just a few minutes each day may be the simplest way to experience a major life transformation!