10 Tips for an Attitude of Gratitude Every DayNovember 17, 2016
Let's have an attitude for gratitude every day! On the fourth Thursday in November, in the U.S., we celebrate Thanksgiving and being grateful. What about the other 364 days in the year? It has been shown that being grateful can improve many parts of your life!
Benefits to an Attitude of Gratitude
- Gratitude can improve your physical health. The boost gratitude gives to your physical health are less pain and aches, and a feeling of overall well-being. As a result, grateful people are more likely to make their health a priority with regular physical exams, dental check-ups, healthier eating, and activity.
- Gratitude can improve your mental and emotional health. A focus on being grateful for the people and things in your life naturally improves your psychological well-being. Being grateful doesn't leave much room for the small annoyances that occur in our day-to-day lives.
- Gratitude helps with sleep. From a study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being (2011), it shows that those of us that write in a gratitude journal sleep better. As part of your night-time going to bed process, spend a few minutes writing down three things you're grateful for in your day. It seems that gratitude is much better than sleeping aids!
- Gratitude and relationships. When you're grateful, your tendency is to focus on the gratifying people you have relationships. For example, when you are grateful and take notice of the nurturing things your spouse or partner does for you that adds to your relationship, it won't be as important that he or she doesn't put the cap on the tube of toothpaste. Another thing gratitude does is make you more open to more relationships such as friendships. For relationships, gratitude is a win/win.
With all of these benefits for gratitude, why limit it to Thanksgiving Day? When you have an attitude of gratitude, make it a habit and mindset for yourself every day. Look for opportunities to be grateful!
All of us have over-full days of tasks to do, errands to run, and responsibilities at work and family. Don't allow focusing on being grateful become another item on your over-busy to-do list that is an "I'll get to it when I can" item. Once you practice it and notice the change within yourself, it will become a part of your mindset.
10 Tips for Gratitude Every Day
SMALL THINGS. There are small things that happen every day. You have a special moment with a family member, a loved one tells you they love you, a good laugh with a co-worker, someone lets you into traffic or birds chirping out your window. Pay attention to the small things that happen every day. You'll be happier and less stressed for taking notice of those sweet, simple moments. Appreciate the small stuff in your life. The small stuff adds up to be the most meaningful in your life. It isn't necessarily the big happenings in your life that you remember but the small things as well.
GRATITUDE LIST. Jot down three (or however many you want) at the end of your day OR as they happen. This will increase your awareness of all the wonderful things that happen that you can be grateful for.
SAY IT. Tell someone important to you that they are important to you! Send an email, call them, write a handwritten note to tell a special friend and loved ones that you are grateful for them. Friends, true friends, and loved ones are too precious and rare so make sure they know the gratitude you have for them. Too often we think they know. They may or may not, tell them anyway.
SAY IT (TO YOURSELF!). This one may be hard at first but it is important. Acknowledge and appreciate things about yourself that you like, things you've done during the day (submitting a project ahead of time, making a healthy food choice, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, exercising when you didn't really want to). Anything large, small, or in between, express your gratitude for what you've done. You may gravitate to the things you don't like about yourself or that you want to change, but stop yourself. This is important for your self-esteem and self-acceptance.
TAKE IT TO SOCIAL MEDIA. Spend a few minutes liking or posting about posts you see in your feed. If there is a book you've read, let others know; if you've used a professional or found a product that you particularly like, leave a review on their website. Send a friend request or follow a new person that you like.
DONATION. Is there a cause or organization that you resonate with and believe in? Donate your time, a financial contribution or your talents. Some suggestions for your time and talents are to become a volunteer at a local school, assisted living center, library, church, or your local hospital. For weight loss surgery patients, offer to pay it forward with your surgeon's support group as a facilitator or other needs they may have. Organizations appreciate volunteers!
PAY IT FORWARD. If you are a member of the OH Community and attend a support group, offer your support. You can send a PM to another member of ObesityHelp or talk with a support group member if they are struggling and you want to support them. Paying it forward as a WLS patient supports the other person and makes you feel good at the same time.
THANK THOSE THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. There are many people that make a difference in our lives that we may not think about. What about the person that delivers your mail, hairstylist, the neighbor that watches your house while you're away on vacation, the people that pick up your trash, the attendant at your favorite gas station, or the person that makes your morning coffee? Many times those people receive more complaints than they do gratitude for what they do. Take special note of those people and write a thank you card or give them a token of your appreciation.
ANTICIPATE THE NEEDS OF SOMEONE. When I came home from the hospital after having my son, as new parents, we were overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do. Caring for our newborn was the first priority to the point that we didn't think about cooking for ourselves much less do it. Our neighbors, that we didn't know very well, made a huge platter of bar-b-que chicken and dropped it off. That chicken and their anticipation of what we might need is something I'll always be grateful for. If you have a neighbor, friend or someone in your life that has had surgery, sick, a baby or a similar life-altering event, anticipate what they might need and provide it. For any friends that have lost a parent within the past year, check in with them on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Those special days are especially difficult.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS. Random acts of kindness are so meaningful, both for you and the recipient. Try to make your act of kindness anonymously. Pay for the meal of the car behind you in the drive-thru line, put extra coins in a parking meter that is about to expire, pay the toll fee for the car behind you, knit a scarf for your neighbor and leave it on their front door handle anonymously, leave an extra tip for a restaurant server. When you practice random acts of kindness you give to someone else but you receive more good feelings many times over.
Living with gratitude is a gift that you give to yourself!
ABOUT THE AUTHORCathy Wilson, PCC, BCC, had RNY surgery in 2001 and lost 147 pounds. Cathy is a regular contributor to the OH Blog and authored the "Mind Matters" column in ObesityHelp Magazine. Cathy is a licensed pilot and loves flying. She is a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC).
Read more articles by Cathy!