What is a gratitude attitude?
It is simply making it a habit to be thankful and appreciating all the big and small things in life.
It is easy to lose sight of the goodness that surrounds us. Making it a habit to recognize what we are thankful for and appreciating what is around us can have a positive effect on our mental and physical health.
***Disclaimer: I am terrible at this. I will be working hard on this habit this year.***
Why have a gratitude attitude?
Being grateful and having a positive outlook on life is linked to being a healthier and happier person. It can be done anywhere and anytime. It does not require expensive equipment. Not many things are as freely available and as easy to practice.
The following list of benefits was taken from the Greater Good Magazine website (here).
They have a ton useful information on leading a meaningful and happy life.
It is based on research and published by the University of California, Berkley.
Stronger immune systems
Less bothered by aches and pains
Lower blood pressure
Exercise more and take better care of their health
Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
Higher levels of positive emotions
More alert, alive, and awake
More joy and pleasure
More optimism and happiness
More helpful, generous, and compassionate
Feel less lonely and isolated.
How to develop a gratitude attitude?
According to Dr. Robert Emmons it really comes down to two key things to practice gratitude:
We affirm that there are good things in life
We acknowledge the sources of this goodness are outside ourselves
We must recognize that there is good all around us and that we are not the only source of all the goodness out there. This can sound pretty heady and seem hard to put into practice but that is not the case. Following are ways to start to put a gratitude attitude into practice.
This one is all over the place and can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.
A few times per week or daily (your choice) start writing down the good things that happened that day. Most journals tend to settle on writing down three things you are grateful for that day.
SHARE YOUR GRATITUDE
Don't keep your gratitude attitude to yourself. Send someone a thank you note. Say thank you out loud to someone. Tell your wife/husband/partner something they did you are grateful for. Make it a habit to point out to people what you are grateful for because of them.
APPRECIATE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Sometimes it is best to just step outside and look around. Appreciate the beauty of nature.
The feel of the sun on your skin. The sounds of leaves in the wind. The smell after a fresh rain. Take it all in for a few minutes. Nature is pretty awe inspiring do not let that slip past your attention.
This can take many forms. For some this might take the form of praying. For others this may be a meditation. However you do it, it really matters that you are slowing down and focusing on what makes you grateful. Maybe you are using an app for guided meditations, maybe you are using a prayer book, or maybe you want to do it on your own with the three questions exercise. How you decide to do it does not matter as much as you actually doing it.
Here is my personal plan to improve my gratitude attitude:
1. I will do a gratitude journal three days a week
2. I will start using thank you notes
3. I will utilize a meditation app before bed most nights
Will I get to each of these every single day? NOPE.
What? You expect me to lie to you?
But I will be putting forth effort to improve my gratitude attitude daily.