5 Tips for Living a Life of Gratitude –for our Health and Happiness

Friday, November 10, 2017

When it comes time for the holiday rush of celebrations it is always a good time to reflect on our mental health as well as our physical health. As we count the days until Thanksgiving and our annual holiday season we can experience intense emotions. More and more we understand that how we feel emotionally directly influences our health. The holidays tend to bring this especially to light, as we feel pressured to do more, spend more, and eat more. We may even dread family gatherings and the possible conflict that may occur among family members.

Gratitude, in particular, has been shone to have a powerful effect on our outlook on life and our ability to manage the stresses and strains of our everyday lives in addition to the extraordinary circumstances of the holidays. The list of positive effects of gratitude is long. It includes improved heart health, reduced stress, improving our sleep, enhancing our relationships, fortifying our resilience, and boosting our self-esteem. It also helps us with our stick-to-itiveness, allowing us to keep to our exercise routine and other good healthy habits. It helps us with our overall sense of life satisfaction.

When we talk about living a healthy lifestyle we are taught that it means eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and now we know it also needs to include a positive outlook, which is reflected in the gratitude we express. As we see with the list of healthy habits above, we succeed in living a healthy lifestyle only if and because of our attitude of gratitude.

The challenge can be getting in touch with our gratitude. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed with the problems in our lives, the difficulties in our relationships, as well as the stresses and hassles in our everyday lives. How can we identify what we are grateful for in the midst of the chaos in our life?

  1. Start a Gratitude Meditation. Take a few minutes out of each day to think about the kindnesses people have shown you within a 24-hour period. Come up with at least 3.
    • It can be as simple as a smile
    • It can be someone starting a conversation at the grocery store or in line to order coffee.
    • Or it can be acknowledging a specific kindness
    • What about being grateful for the great workout you had?
  2. Think about the beauty that surrounds you.
    • Did you see the sunset or a sunrise? How did it touch you?
    • Are there birds in your neighborhood or trees that are changing with the seasons you can look at and see how they are beautiful?
    • Is there a scarf, handbag or garment you have seen online or in a store that you see the beauty in?
    • Or what about a beautifully designed new gadget that makes your life easier or more fun?
    • Is there a song or artist whose music you love listening to because it inspires you?
  3. Find ways to be present. If we are present it is easier to be aware of all the good in our lives.
    • The meal you are eating...what does it taste like? Is it warm or cold? What are the textures?
    • Take a walk and feel the pavement under your feet, be aware of the weather...is it sunny or cloudy...hot or cold...is there a breeze?
  4. Create gratitude. Do something thoughtful and nice for someone else. This can have the effect of making us feel more grateful too...and make you more aware when others show the same kindnesses to you.
    • Treat someone unexpectedly to a cup of coffee
    • Let someone with a few things in their cart go ahead of you in line at the grocery store
    • Reach out to someone by email you haven't connected with in a while
    • Hold the door open for someone, especially if you see their hands are full
    • The list is limitless!
  5. Start writing things down that happen to you or you see and experience that have a positive or grateful effect. Then keep referring back to it to be reminded of how in each day there is good in it, regardless off the hardships.
Gratitude is everywhere. We simply need to take time to discover it, acknowledge it and then practice living it each day. It may be good for our health…but we can’t beat what it does for our heart and soul.

Live vibrant!

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