Yale University Professors describe gratitude as a state of mind that arises when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself, or when you notice and relish little pleasures. Gratitude could be internal, like a prayer or thought, or projected externally like thanking your spouse for folding the laundry. Read on to see how gratitude affects all of us and ways you can practice gratitude.
How Being Grateful Impacts Your Life
At times, we get caught up in our everyday routine. And although we are thankful for the people in our lives and the things we have, we live in a quick-paced society and can sometimes fall into taking people and things for granted.
According to Elizabeth Hopper, PhD, gratitude serves to strengthen our relationships with others. Feeling grateful helps us identify those who are responsive to our needs, and helps bring us closer to them.
Practicing gratitude also has positive effects on our mental and physical health. Studies show that gratitude can reduce many toxic emotions and thoughts, lower stress, and improve our mental strength.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ways You Can Practice Gratitude
- Write a thank-you note. Writing a letter to a friend or family member expressing your appreciation will not only boost the recipient’s mood but will boost your mood as well. Make a habit of writing a thank-you note to someone every few months.
- Smile. Studies show that smiling produces “feel good” neurotransmitters including, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. Smiling also shows people that you are inviting and friendly. But most of all, it lets people physically see how appreciative you are.
- Gratitude journal. Designate a journal just for practicing gratitude. Set a daily reminder on your phone and write down a couple of things you are thankful for each day.
- Get a quote calendar for your office. When each new day begins, start it off with reading a quote out of your quote calendar. Really think about how you can apply the quote to your life and who it makes you think of.
- Have an attitude for gratitude. Changing your thinking on a negative situation can rewire your overall mindset. Think of the lessons you learned from the event and how you overcame them to become stronger.
- Focus on your strengths. When you stop to focus on what your strengths are and are thankful for what you can bring to relationships, you’re practicing gratitude. Be thankful for who you are.
- Be in the moment. Whether you’re out to dinner with your spouse, visiting a friend, or playing with your kids, be in the moment. Really listen to them, ask caring questions, and enjoy the quality time.
- Get a Xen. Xen was created by a top cardiac surgeon and accomplished inventor, passionate about enhancing people’s lives through wellness technology. Vagus nerve stimulation promotes increased focus and mindfulness, which may lead to a clearer mind for practicing gratitude.
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