“If you learn to appreciate more of what you already have, you’ll find yourself having more to appreciate.” — Michael Angier
What if there was something that was both simple AND that could radically transform you, your life, your relationships, and your health?
Would that be something you’d be interested in? We thought so.
Believe it or not, this “something” that we’re talking about is gratitude, and yes, it really is that powerful. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can:
- Elevate your mood
- Reduce feelings of depression
- Help you feel more connected
- Help you become a better, more likeable, more trustworthy person
- Lower levels of inflammation
- Reduce anxiety
- Boost energy levels
- Reduce the severity/symptoms of illness
- Improve your sleep
- Helps you develop stronger bonds and relationships
Simply put, giving thanks can make you happier, and by helping you get outside of yourself, stop being self-centered, and become other-focused, gratitude can help you get away from ruts, setbacks, and self-pity. It may also make you more successful.
According to legendary pastor and leadership and management expert John C. Maxwell, gratitude, by its very nature, automatically works to eliminate three mental characteristics that most undermine individual success in an interactive world:
Maxwell also talks about how gratitude can enrich your life:
- Grateful people linger over life’s blessings
- Grateful people live in the moment
- Grateful people leave fear behind
- Grateful people live on purpose
- Grateful people love those beside them
So, how do you put gratitude into practice? Great question. In a New York Times article, Arthur C. Brooks, author of Gross National Happiness, suggests practicing three gratitude strategies to tap into its powerful benefits:
- Interior gratitude: Keep a daily or weekly list of the things you are grateful for. For example, each day you might write down 1 – 3 people or things you are grateful for.
- Exterior gratitude: Write thank-you notes and share your gratitude with others. These can be hand-written notes, phone calls, emails, or text messages.
- “Be grateful for useless things”: Mindfully express thanks for the everyday stuff that we too often take for granted, like running water, air conditioning, washing machines, etc.
Oprah Winfrey, a leader in the consciousness of gratitude, may have said best, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”