How to Live a More Grateful Life
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for everything life has blessed us with like family and friends, food on the table and our good health. Holidays help us reflect on the things that truly make a difference in our lives, but it’s good to extend those feelings of appreciation beyond the holiday season and into our everyday routine.
Studies have shown that living a grateful life can actually make us healthier. Being grateful improves our outlook on life, makes us optimistic, puts us in a better mood, boosts the immune system and leads to a better night’s sleep.
Here are a few easy things you can do to start living a more grateful life:
Write it down.
Keep a gratitude journal where you make a daily list of the things for which you are grateful. It could be buying that special cup of coffee in the morning or a phone call from a loved one. Focus on the things that make you smile, and the people and everyday situations that lighten your heart rather than material things. Objects come and go much faster than people, special events and memories.
Live in the present.
While it is important to remember our past and have goals for our future, it is equally important to be present in the here and now. Remind yourself to stop and appreciate what is happening around you. After all, you only get one chance at today. By choosing to focus in the moment, you’ll appreciate the little things like your favourite song playing on the radio, or the interesting shape of the clouds in the sky. It also means letting go of the things you’re “waiting for”, like a promotion at work or a better car. Don’t wait for happiness - grab it now.
Spread the wealth.
No matter how small or insignificant a donation may seem, it could make a big difference to your community or someone in need. Volunteer with an organization you support. Donate clothes or other belongings to the less fortunate. Spare some change when you’re asked for it. Not only will you feel good about being able to help, your act of generosity could motivate someone else to pay it forward.
Give a compliment every day.
It doesn’t take much to change the course of someone's day. Take a moment to acknowledge the co-worker who gave you a hand with a project, or the family member who always has a smile on their face. Recognizing the positive impact they have on your day with a simple “Thank you” will not only make them feel good about themselves, it will encourage them to continue the cycle.
Think positive, but appreciate the setbacks.
Life is full of ups and downs, and it is important to be grateful for both. Once you have accepted that something didn’t go the way you planned, look for the silver lining. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion, but you have more time to spend with your family because your current position doesn’t require the long hours. Positive thinking doesn’t mean ignoring the disappointments, it simply means recognizing them as part of the journey.
While it is always easier to worry about the things in life you cannot control, it only takes a few minutes every day to make gratefulness a part of your routine. This year, embrace the benefits being thankful. Use Thanksgiving as the stepping stone towards a healthier and more grateful life.
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