For most of us life is good and although we may not always appreciate it, every day, there is so much to be grateful for.
But when life throws us a curve ball in the form of a challenging situation it can be easy to forget all the good times and become consumed by the negatives.
Feelings of gratitude can have positive effects on your health and well-being and help you to deal with challenging situations in more positive and healthy ways. Dr Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading authorities on gratitude, has conducted several pieces of evidence based research on the health benefits of feeling grateful. I encourage my clients who are feeling worried, stressed or anxious to find ways of recognising things in their lives that they can be thankful for.
By having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ you focus on the present and what you currently have. Feeling grateful moves you away from dwelling on what you feel is lacking in your life. Also, an amazing by-product of feeling grateful is that you will feel happier – now who doesn’t want that!
Here are 5 actions to keep gratitude in your life.
1. List 10 things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for.
When you are feeling low it’s a good idea to look at your list to remind yourself of all the feel good things and events in your life.
2. List 10 things about your work that you are grateful for.
We spend a large percentage of our day at work so it’s a good idea to have some positive feelings about it. Things such as having helpful colleagues, a pleasant environment, kind customers, a good income, flexible hours or a place for your first cup of coffee. Choose whatever makes your working day more pleasant. Again, when you need uplifting in relation to work you can read this list.
3. List 10 things about your personality and abilities that you are thankful for.
If you find this difficult, think of all the positive ways your best friend, colleagues or family would describe you.
4. Start using a Gratitude Journal every day.
This will allow you to regularly recognise and appreciate things in your life that you are grateful for.
5. Actions speak louder than words.
Show gratitude towards someone else by writing a letter of thanks or send a thank-you card to someone who has shown you kindness and had a positive influence on you. When we receive a gift from someone we may think of thanking them with a gift of equal value. However, a heart-felt thank-you note telling them how their gift has affected you may be all that is needed.
Recognising and appreciating good things in our lives is a skill and like any other skill it takes practice and consistency. Spending just a few minutes each day listing the things in your life that you are grateful for can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
For some people, starting on their gratitude journey isn’t easy. If this is you, keep an eye out for my workshop that is designed to guide and help you get started on creating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ that works for you.