How aware are you of your gratitude level? It’s good to work on gratitude all year long and not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Are you staying aware of the power of gratitude and being grateful for something every day? Do other people experience a genuine sense of gratitude when they interact with you or do they walk away shaking their heads because you are typically negative or complaining about what’s wrong in your life or in the world every time they see you?
Gratitude is something we can all work on every day. Sure, sometimes we miss the mark, but we can always improve. We can all use a reminder to be more diligent about the level of gratitude in our lives. My goal is for us to use this blog as a self-check to move forward in the right direction.
There are so many things for which we can be grateful. At a time when there’s great unrest, chaos, turmoil, job loss, deception, income loss, health issues, inflation, housing struggles, and loss of loved ones in the United States and in other countries, it is still likely that there are some blessings that we are taking for granted.
What is Gratitude and Why it is Important
Let’s start with a definition so we’re all on the same page. According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, gratitude is a “state of being grateful; thankfulness.” You can’t be any clearer than that, right? We have to learn to be thankful. If you haven’t been around grateful people, you may find yourself working harder to be thankful. That’s okay. Keep working on it! You’ll get there and you’ll see an important shift in your life for the better.
Think you don’t have anything to be thankful for right now? Think again. Do you have two feet? Two hands? All your fingers and toes? Good vision? Good hearing? No Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from traumas? A roof over your head? Running water to bathe in and to drink? A bed in which to sleep? See what I mean. We don’t want to take these things for granted because some individuals do not have two hands, feet, good eyesight, hearing, etc. Maybe you have a close, loving family yet you may know someone who no longer has family members alive. Do you have transportation or money to get to work every day? What else can you add to this list of things for which you can be grateful? Take some time to think about it and see what else comes to mind.
Our Gratitude with Others
Our gratitude speaks volumes to others. It shows that we are not self-focused and that we are going through life with our eyes open and aware of the needs of others and appreciating the blessings that we have in our lives. I’m not talking about comparing to see who is better or who has more, but rather, truly valuing what we have.
Our gratitude can acknowledge others, as well as show honor and respect to others. Why does that matter? Don’t you want to be treated right, respected, and acknowledged for who you are? Of course! Putting others down or saying hurtful things doesn’t convey that we value the people with whom we are talking.
The more thankful and grateful we are, the more gracious we become, and the more we are open to serving others. That’s better than grabbing at everything we can get or taking all we can for ourselves when situations arise.
Personal Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude is healthy!!! So why not go for it? Being thankful and gracious in our relationships and in what we do has a positive impact on our bodies, souls, and minds. Being negative does too. So why not opt for having a positive effect on others and on yourself?
We feel better about ourselves when we realize how much we truly have. Focusing on what we don’t have can be very stressful and challenging for our minds and bodies. It may eventually create high blood pressure, depression, fatigue, and other illnesses. So choose to be grateful and watch what happens. You might be amazed at how much happier and less stressed you become.
How to Become More Grateful
if gratitude is so good for us, how can we get better at doing it? Be determined to practice it more, even every day. Many life coaches strongly suggest keeping a gratitude journal and spending maybe 15 minutes every day writing down what we’re grateful for that day. It’s a great way to start or end our day.
Another way to cultivate gratitude is to serve others, especially those less fortunate than yourself. It will help you realize how much you really do have. Volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter or help the elderly or disabled. All of these efforts open our eyes to being more grateful. Our blessing of good health and strength may not seem like a big deal if we’re 28 years old, but it may be huge to someone who is 88. We may see people who have had auto accidents at early ages and who have had to contend with that all of their lives. That’s definitely a time to be grateful for “not” having had that happen to us.
We can become more thankful by getting around people who are grateful and limiting our time with those who are not. That alone will make a huge difference in our lives and our ability to be thankful.
I hope this post helps you see how powerful gratitude can be in our lives and in our interactions with others. Put these tips to work and watch for the life changes that occur. Expect that a change in your gratitude for the better will have a ripple effect and impact others with whom you interact. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts about how gratitude has affected your life.
Your Life Coach