Be Grateful Today

Article posted in: Lifestyle

You thank the lady who held the door open for you, tip your waitress and give your kid’s soccer coach a little something for a great season—all very nice gestures of appreciation. But the kind of ‘giving thanks’ we’re talking is the one you normally save for that Thursday in November, where (between bites of turkey) you reflect and take time to appreciate all the good and positives in your life.

True gratitude is the state in which you focus on and appreciate what you have, not lack. And developing this mental state has powerful effects: gratitude has been linked to better health, increased happiness, sounder sleep, kindness and compassion, and better resistance to stress. A grateful mental state grows stronger with practice. Here are some tips to help you cultivate it:

Keep a journal. Find a few minutes on most days to write down big or little things you’re grateful for—maybe you met a deadline at work, a new recipe you tried came out delicious, or your kids cleaned their rooms with minimal complaints. Studies show it may help you feel better about life, and more optimistic in general. If you’re not into the old-fashioned paper and pen, there are lots of apps available to help you track your gratitude.

Write a thank-you. Remember the teacher who helped you find your professional calling? Or the old neighbor who always had a kind word and offered an extra hand? Send a letter to that person and share how he or she impacted your life or left a lasting impression. You’ll benefit from the positive memories. And just imagine how good the recipient will feel.

Explore spirituality. Some people use religious prayer while others meditate to help focus on what they are grateful for, like the warmth of the sun or soothing nature sounds.