Having a tough day? Make a gratitude list to perk up.
It’s like something you would see needlepointed on a pillow, “Count Your Blessings.” Put aside the cliché and give it a try to reap the rewards of giving thanks.
In Fact, Be Grateful
Gratitude is “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” The definition of grateful is “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received.” Essentially, being grateful is seeing the good around you and in the world and focusing on that in your thoughts and actions.
People have been studying the physical and emotional effects of gratitude for years and found that this focus on the positive—seeing the glass half full, perhaps—is good for us.
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley reports this list of benefits from gratitude based on scientific research:
- Decreased loneliness
- Increased compassion and generosity
- Lower blood pressure
- Stronger immune system
- More overall joy
Robert Emmons, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis and a leading expert on gratitude, has said that practicing gratitude lets people focus on the good and reminds us of our connections to others.
Experts say that people of any age, marital status, and socioeconomic status can and should practice gratitude to simply feel better, even if they are facing adversity in their lives.
Practice Makes Perfect
Gratitude isn’t just remembering to say “thank you” to others (though you should probably be doing that anyway). There are many ways to practice gratitude consistently in your life:
- Record what you are thankful for in a daily gratitude journal. One of the most common suggestions is to write down five things from your day that you are thankful for before you go to bed at night.
- Make a gratitude jar and throughout the year, write down random moments of thanks and drop them in the jar to review at the end of the year.
- Write a letter of thanks to someone.
- It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to use dinnertime with family or friends to share what you’re grateful for on any given day.
- Remember to keep it spontaneous and varied as you continue to give thanks.
Being grateful isn’t limited to the good things in life either. You can be grateful for mistakes or mishaps when things don’t go your way but you find a silver lining you are thankful for. It’s also not just about thanking others, but being appreciative of the weather or a good meal and such.
Thank you for reading this article!