Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year that causes many people to pause and reflect on what they are grateful for. Unfortunately, once the season passes the emphasis gratitude subsides quickly once the rigors of life arise.
Most people have no idea what they are missing by having a lack of gratitude. Genuine gratitude is a strong emotion and has the power to impact our mental and physical well being in a positive manner.
It is easy to be grateful when we are comfortable and things are going well.
Gratitude is much harder to come by when facing a difficult season.
Based on my experience and research, gratitude is an emotion that we can choose to express, or not. Sometimes it genuinely gushes out, and other times we must will it into expression.
The more often you express gratitude the stronger your ability to be grateful regardless of circumstance.
Here are seven strategies to help you consistently flex your gratitude muscle:
1. Choose to Be Grateful
We all have a choice – be thankful for the opportunities and blessings we are given, or be upset about the things we didn’t get or didn’t go our way.
Life is hard for everyone. Each person is struggling with something, whether we are aware of it or not.
Acknowledge a struggle for what it is, but do not give it the power to rob you of the good things you have in other areas of your life.
Those who chose gratitude are much happier and live fuller lives.
The choice is yours.
2. Write down something you are grateful for every day.
At the beginning of each day, take three to five minutes to write down something you are genuinely grateful for and why.
3. Be mindful of what’s happening around you.
We are typically so focused on what is going on inside our heart and head that we are oblivious to the good surrounding us. There are many things to be thankful for, but will we take the time to recognize them?
4. Invest time with those you love.
Spending time with cherished friends and family is one of the best ways to remind us of one of the most important things we have to be grateful for – quality relationships. According to the longest running study of what makes humans happy, meaningful relationships are without equal.
Get moving! Exercise is a great way to improve your mood and increase mental clarity. On top of the health benefits, finishing a workout gives you something to be grateful for every day – finishing a workout!
6. Spend less time on social media.
Social media is be an excellent tool to connect with friends, family, and community when used wisely. Spending too much time on social media and the internet has shown to negatively impact people in substantial ways. Reducing time on social media will foster more personal interactions and improve gratitude.
Opportunities to help other people abound! They are all around us if we will take the time to look. Something as simple as holding a door open for someone or helping a person load their groceries in the car has the power to make another person smile. You don’t have to volunteer at a soup kitchen, community project, or other significant initiatives to help those around you. Of course, those are great ideas that you should consider.
Simply be kind and look for opportunities to help other people. You never know how a kind word or deed can impact the course of another person’s life.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan
One More Thing
It’s not about me.
It’s not about you.
It’s about what we do for other people.
The greatest joy and gratitude comes from helping other people.
Do not buy into the lie that it’s all about you, because it isn’t.