A mindset of gratitude brings benefits throughout the year. Gratitude is the ability to notice, interpret and appreciate the positives aspects of life. Being grateful can increase contentment and also may enhance health. According to various studies, gratitude can help:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Boost immunity
- Add longevity
- Improve sleep quality
- Lower blood pressure
- Help with cholesterol levels
Taking time to be thankful is good for your health and your mood.
Ways to Practice Gratitude
You may want to consider some of these ways to cultivate more gratitude in your daily life:
Keep a gratitude journal. You can recall and reflect on the good things in life simply by writing about five things for which you are grateful. You only need to write a sentence about each item. However, as you journal, take time to contemplate these thoughts – rather than dash off a hurried list of items. The Greater Good Science Center offers other practical suggestions on how to keep a gratitude journal.
Send thank you notes. It can help lead to better life. John Kralik, author of A Simple Act of Gratitude, found the act of writing a daily thank you note over the course of a year helped strengthen family and business relationships. He recommends writing the note by hand and mailing it, rather than using email. The personal touch adds to the sincerity and commitment, and people enjoy getting an unexpected note in the mail. Gratitude has no expiration date, so it is never too late to put your appreciation into words.
Do a good deed for someone. Paying it forward not only brings you and others pleasure, it also reminds you of helpful actions others have done for you. Good deeds can be small acts of kindness that come from the heart. For instance, the daily tasks involved in caring for a loved one are valuable beyond words.
Say “thank you” often. Mom was right. “Thank you” are two of the most important words you can say to anyone who provides service. Express your gratefulness to others. Make gratitude a habit.
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