Art of Life/Donna Parker

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When Was The Last Time You Were Grateful?

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” — Maya Angelou

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While saying “thank you” is often expected in certain situations, gratitude goes beyond just saying those simple words. Gratitude is a feeling of being deeply grateful and appreciative for all of the good things in life — whether it be a person, pet, situation or more. Feeling and expressing this emotion can lead to longer-lasting feelings of contentment and positivity, changing your life in significant ways

Furthermore, gratitude does not always have to be directed at a person. You can be grateful for events that happen to you, actions someone takes toward you, an inner quality, or even objects that just make your day better. For instance, when I think about what I am grateful for in the morning, I often include things like the birds that I watch on my porch, in the mornings.

While being grateful might seem simple, it is incredibly powerful. Gratitude changes everything about life. A change in your mindset can improve your overall well-being and quality of life.  Having a positive, grateful mindset, also leads to physically healthier bodies — even benefitting your heart health. Studies have shown that having a grateful outlook offer’s cardiovascular benefits, protecting you against heart disease. By reducing your negative emotions, you will be lowering your blood pressure and stress hormone levels, minimizing the chances of a heart attack or stroke. This practice boosts your immune system too. In other words, a healthier immune system translates to less risk of sickness and disease, helping keep you healthy year-round.

Unsurprisingly, an attitude of gratitude improves your mental health and happiness as well. When you take the time to appreciate what you have and what you are thankful for, you will experience greater levels of optimism and joy. Your mind will becomes healthier when you focus on the ways you are content rather than how you feel unsatisfied. When stressful, painful or discouraging situations do occur, you will be ready to counter them with an attitude of gratitude.

What Are Some Additional Benefits of Gratitude?

The more often you practice gratitude, you will begin to see that this habit has limitless benefits.

Additional advantages of having an attitude of gratitude include being able to:

  • Improve your feelings of well-being.
  • Build resilience when anxious or stressed.
  • Reshape circumstances into more positive experiences that you can learn and grow from.
  • Express more kindness and generosity to individuals in your life and with those you might meet.
  • Experience more satisfying and stronger interpersonal relationships

Adopting an attitude of gratitude will change your life. Here are five ways you can make gratitude a part of your daily routine:

Be observant: If you want to be grateful in all circumstances, you will need to be observant. There are many small moments each day that you can be thankful for if you just take the time to notice them.

Count your blessings: Focus on what you have rather than what you do not have can help shift your mindset into an attitude of gratitude. Notice and value the relationships and things you have in your life and develop an optimistic outlook instead of waiting for what’s next.

Keep a daily journal: Whether it is a physical notebook or on your phone, it can help you be intentional about practicing gratitude. Come up with a number, like three or five blessings, and spend some time at the beginning or end of your day reflecting on those things you’re grateful for.

Express your gratitude: Reflect on the individuals in your life and the positive impact they have had on you. Consider family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and service people you come in contact with daily. Let them know either in person or over email or text why you’re thankful for them and what they do.

Encourage others to adopt an attitude of gratitude: Be intentional about sharing how your new mindset has changed your life with those around you. Your environment plays a big role in your life. Negativity can feed negativity while positivity feeds positivity. Surrounding yourself with individuals who are appreciative and thankful makes embracing your new practice easier.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough”. — Unknown

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