Focus on Gratitude
We are all in different places and spaces. Maybe you are dealing with grief, separation from family, financial issues, divorce, illness, or some other hardship in your life. When we face hardships, we often get stuck in the fear, anxiety, and the unknown of our situation. For many, these feelings can lead to isolation.
But when we push ourselves to remember what we do have in our lives, everything for which we are grateful, then we can change the tide of those negative feelings.
Over the last several decades, many scientific studies from top universities and psychology experts have shown the benefits of gratitude. Some benefits proven are:
1. People with gratitude are happier and healthier.
Studies have shown that even if you are currently in a situation that has brought you sadness, making a gratitude list can increase your happiness in the moment and long term.
2. People who write down their gratitude before bed have improved sleep quality.
Taking a couple of minutes before bed to write down a list of things for which you are grateful actually increases your sleep quality, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.
3. People who express their gratitude have an increased self esteem.
A 2014 paper by Journal of Applied Sports Psychology shows that if you express your thanks and appreciation of others, you actually will increase your own self esteem.
4. People with gratitude journals have more resilience.
Several studies have shown, including a paper from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, that when you keep a gratitude journal, you actually increase your resilience so that you are better able to manage the difficult situations in your life. You have a greater capacity to see beyond the difficult situation you are in, allowing you to move through it. Through gratitude you can recognize that you have more in your life.
During this week of Thanksgiving, and beyond, let's focus on gratitude.
I encourage you to start a gratitude journal, spend a few moments every evening writing down what you are grateful for today. If you have children, encourage them to do the same, and even share your gratitude at the dinner table or before bed.
I also encourage you to remember to thank the people in your life that you value and appreciate. Giving thanks to others and letting them know that they are important to you not only makes that person feel valued and loved, but also fills your own heart.