The Attitude of Gratitude
The holidays are usually a time of reflection and gratitude, but how can gratitude make you happier year round? Gratitude is the act of giving thanks or being thankful and appreciative for what you have, whether tangible or intangible, and recognizing it helps you to acknowledge what’s good in your life. Whether it’s family, the feeling you get during a religious service, or birds singing outside your window in the morning, gratitude helps you feel fulfilled and connected to something larger than yourself.
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” — Germany Kent
How can gratitude help improve your mood?
Research in the field of positive psychology shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater overall happiness. Improvements in health, resilience and relationships, as well as feeling more positive emotions are just some of the benefits of regularly practicing gratitude. And, like a muscle, the mental health benefits of gratitude grow stronger with use and practice. Gratitude helps you appreciate what you have instead of focusing on what you lack.
Here are some simple ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:
Write a thank-you note. The art of writing a thank you note feels like a lost one, but you will not only brighten the day of the recipient, but your own when you take a moment to express your appreciation of a person or act that has meaning for you. Handwritten notes are lovely, but a thoughtful email or text will also do the trick.
Keep a gratitude journal. Start a gratitude list or journal where you make it a habit to write down what you’re thankful for every day.
Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to help cultivate gratitude.
Meditate. Mindful meditation helps you to focus on the present moment. It can be the blue sky or the sound of rain on a roof, mindfulness helps you find the joy around you that can sometimes be overlooked or taken for granted.