During this Thanksgiving season, many are focused on things they are grateful for. It turns out that this isn't simply a nice yearly ritual. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is good for you! Positive Psychology researchers have shown that practicing gratitude leads to more happiness and optimism and less stress and depression. Grateful people experience greater satisfaction with life and relationships. It turns out that gratitude is not only good for your mental health, it's good for your physical health as well. Those with an attitude of gratitude better sleep and have fewer symptoms of physical illness. Gratitude is often used an an intervention in the mental health field to increase overall well-being.
So how can you get on the gratitude train, you ask? Allow me to show you.
The easiest way to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude is to use a physical reminder. Choose a small rock to become your gratitude rock. Find one that is pleasing to you in how it looks and how it feels. Place your gratitude rock somewhere that you will see it often. You can put it in your bedroom, on your desk, in the kitchen, etc. Anytime you walk by your gratitude rock, pause and think of one thing you are grateful for. Your gratitude may be as simple as, "I didn't trip down the stairs," or it may become deeper, such as, "I am grateful to have good parents." Pondering on the things you are grateful for throughout the days will eventually become a habit, and you will see the benefits of practicing gratitude. This is just one technique to get you started. If you're looking for more ways to cultivate gratitude, check out this list.
I'm convinced that gratitude is contagious. I have a dear friend who has been doing a gratitude challenge this season. She has a daily prompt each day, and she emails her loved ones her responses to the prompt. When I read her emails, I contemplate my own feelings of gratitude and feel uplifted. It seems that her own dedication to the practice of gratitude has benefited me! Perhaps your own attitude of gratitude will rub off on those around you.
How have you cultivated gratitude in your own life?