What are you grateful for? This is the age-old question we’ve heard since we were kids. We tend to think about giving thanks for holiday meals and gifts at Christmas. However, more and more studies are showing the benefits of year-round gratitude. In fact, it’s actually healthy for you to focus on what you are grateful for. That’s right, by being mindful in your everyday life, gratitude journaling, or simply saying “thank you” more often will do you a whole lot of good. Here’s a few ways to introduce gratitude into your daily routine and how exchanging those negative thoughts for gracious ones can increase mental strength:
“Thank you!” – It’s polite, and who doesn’t love a well-mannered person? Showing and expressing gratitude can actually help open doors to new friends and relationships. Studies support that genuine appreciation for a favor an acquaintance did can increase those feel-good chemicals in your brain. Extra points if you do it with a smile. As gratitude becomes a rotation in your life, you will attract more open and kind-hearted people. Win/win.
Make a list – Don’t know where to start? Take five minutes before bed or right when you wake up in the morning to jot down a few things you’re thankful for. It will help you to let go of toxic emotions in the morning to start with a clear head and help relieve stress before bed. Focusing on the bad will only make it worse, and no one likes a pity party. Gratitude journaling increases your mindfulness and awareness so you can introduce that practice into your daily life when things hit the fan.
Take time to rejoice – Instead of getting upset when something doesn’t go your way; stop. Take a moment, and look at all of the great parts of the situation instead. Resilience is born out of challenges and hardships. Gratitude is the perfect way to test your mental strength when it comes to being let down.
Don’t save gratitude for one or two months a year. Focusing on what you are thankful for can seem a little foreign at first; but with practice and diligence, it can help turn your whole mindset around for the day/month/year and keep you smiling in the midst of chaos.