“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar
Having gratitude is more then being thankful for someone or something, it’s having a deep appreciation. Some synonyms of the word gratitude are blessed, appreciative, and grateful. Over the years there has been research proving the positive effects of our mind and body when we incorporate the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks when practiced regularly can keep you healthier and happier.
Most times when large disasters strike we tend to focus on what we are grateful for in our lives. Then as we get further away in time from the disaster we go right back to cursing the driver in front of us for taking too long changing lanes. Our brains are thinking lots of different thoughts throughout the day. It is very easy to get stuck in a negative loop. Shifting our focus to what we are grateful for allows our brains to get back to focusing on the positive aspects in our life.
Gratitude takes practice, it’s a skill you can develop. Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude into your life.
Gratitude Jar - Every day write what you are grateful for on slips of paper and put it in the jar. Every 3 months take out the slips of paper and read through them. My family likes reading the notes every few months. It makes us laugh and reflect on moments we enjoyed. Or wait to read it until December 31, 2017 as you transition to 2018.
Daily meditation - Stop, think and breath is an app that has gratitude meditations included. This is another way to have a daily intention and thoughts on what you are grateful for.
Photographs - We know that teens love taking selfies so this is a great way to get all ages involved. Everyone in the family take 1 photograph a day of something you are grateful for. You print it out and add it to your jar or save it in a shared folder on your device and everyone can look at it at the end of the month or year.
My niece, Sammi, says, “I am thankful for having the courage to change my hair. Cutting my hair is a way for me to start over, like a new chapter. Doing something I want for myself.”
30 days - Each day of the month have a different question that everyone in the family can answer. Here is a list of some questions:
This week I am enjoying time off with family so taking time to write this article was hard. However, I am grateful for being able to write in my pajamas, on a computer that works well and I am grateful that my family gives me space and time to write. What are you grateful for today?
ROSE LAPIERE, LPC, RPT-S, ACS