Having an Attitude of Gratitude
“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Albert Clarke
As we enter the last month of 2019, instead of lamenting what has not happened, let’s look on the bright side to recollect the great experiences and blessings we’ve received. It is with this gratitude that we can begin to see more positivity in our lives, in fact, research has shown that having an attitude of gratitude is linked to greater happiness. It is from that grateful state that people can develop positive emotions, better health, and higher tenacity to handle challenges.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude is all about being gracious to self and others. It is the practice of having appreciation for life. Countless studies by leading scientific experts on gratitude have proven the positive effect gratitude has on improving relationships, mental health and even physical health. These studies show that those who practice gratitude on a regular basis are noted to experience stronger immune systems, decrease in aches and pains, higher levels of happiness, and increase in compassion, which often leads to improvement of social relations.
3 Ways to Practice Gratitude
The first step to gratitude is the appreciation of self. When we practice self-gratitude, we are extending gratitude to our life and everything that extends from it. When we can see our world with such grace, many things will start to look more optimistic and empowering. One of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is to name three things for which you are grateful each day. It is as simple as that. Since I started practicing this, I’ve felt more energized and better able to keep my composure in difficult situations. Today I am grateful that:
- I was able to take a break from work and spend quality time with a special someone I don’t see often enough
- I was able to make it to a gym session after a long hiatus; and I used this time recharge my energy
- I was able to take my dog on an extended walk
When I first started, it was difficult to think of 3 things, and then it occurred to me that I’ve taken a lot for granted. I was only looking out for the “big” things and was blind to the “small” blessings that filled my day. I also found that practicing this form of gratitude just before bed soothed my mind; and that if I was having a full on, crazy busy day, that taking a 3 mins time out to just think of one thing I was grateful for at that point in time, helped to center my mind. Try this and see what works best for you.
Expressing Gratitude Towards Others
When we extend gratitude to others, it has the effect of bridging gaps between people and warming hearts through sincerity. Simple acts like greeting the security guy with a “good morning”, saying “thank you” to the Barista that made your coffee; or just even to the person who held the door open for you. However, say these words from the heart because people can always tell the difference between a patronizing statement and heartfelt gratitude.
At work, if you have a team, why not try ending the week with a quick email or text message to express your thanks or gratitude for something they’ve done?
Paying it forward with Gratitude
This kind act was popularized by the movie “Pay It Forward” that was released in 2000. We too can touch lives if we extend our gratitude by showing kindness and empathy to others. This can be as simple as volunteering to pick up the laundry from the dry cleaners for our family.
At work, thoughtful acts like bringing coffee or offering to pick up lunch for a colleague who’s too busy to walk out would make a difference.
A Little Goes a Long Way
Don’t make this another to-do list – just start with one simple act and when that becomes a habit, incorporate another and then another. Soon enough you’ll be sparkling with an attitude of gratitude!