Gratitude Is Good For The Heart and Soul!

Thanksgiving is upon us, the time of year when our forefathers gathered to give thanks for the harvest. Today, with so few living on farms and most of us never participated in a harvest, it is a time when families and friends gather, share traditional meals and celebrate all those things they are grateful for. Today we have such busy lives that it is a good thing we have an annual holiday to remind us of all the things in our lives we should be grateful for.

Practicing gratitude and being thankful daily can have positive benefits for our overall wellbeing. Did you know that studies show that expressing gratitude makes us happier, strengthens relationships and reduces stress which can all have a positive effect on our heart and immune system? Gratitude encourages us to focus on the positive things in our daily lives and on the things we have rather than always being fixated on what’s next. It is being aware of those around you, noticing simple pleasures and appreciating what makes up your daily life.

Concentrating on those things that you are grateful for increases happiness and compassion for others and reduces the time you spend thinking about if only I had…

Here are some suggestions for setting a daily routine for a life of gratitude:

  1. Start each day with a grateful thought or idea: Before getting out of bed remind yourself of one thing you are grateful for.
  2. Start a gratitude journal: Oprah Winfrey has been keeping a gratitude journal for over a decade, and says “I’ve been advocating the power and pleasure of being grateful.” When life gets busy and you feel overwhelmed writing down each day what you are grateful for helps keep us centered.
  3. Practice gratitude in your relationships: No one’s perfect, and those we love can sometimes drive us crazy, but remembering why we are thankful they are in our lives can change the narrative.
  4. Share your gratitude: Whether it is a coworker who has helped on a project or a child that picked up their toys without being told to, be sure to express your gratitude. It sets the tone for not only that moment but for a positive future.
  5. Appreciate every day: Don’t take people, your job, your home or loved ones for granted. Write that note, share that thought or make that call.
  6. Share the joy: Be grateful for not only your own blessings but those of your family, friends and coworkers.

Once you become accustomed with looking for things in your daily life to be thankful for, you find a new appreciation for people and things that you previously took for granted.

Written by: Joan Niemeier

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