What are you grateful for? Over the past few years, I have made more of a conscious effort to reflect, write, and voice my own gratitude, and I have found it to make a positive impact on my days, my relationships, and the way I deal with adversity. Research has shown in many studies the impact of gratitude to impact us physiologically, psychologically, socially, and emotionally. It can improve our sleep, give us more energy in our work and/or exercise, reduce our stress, help us see the optimistic side, improve our self-esteem, reduce our tendency to compare, makes us more productive, foster deeper relationships, makes us kinder, and overall stronger mentally and emotionally.
Gratitude is NOT a cure-all solution; it is only one tool, but it is an effective, meaningful and underutilized tool for positively impacting your life satisfaction, your trust and connection in relationships, and your overall resilience.
One important distinction...
Authenticity is key. I’ve come to experience gratitude as more than just my thoughts or empty words, rather, it is a genuine, heartfelt embodied feeling of recognition, or an acknowledgement of the things or people outside myself that contribute to MY happiness, or even my growth. At times during the journey, it was forced, and it was difficult to embody the feelings I just described. Over time, and especially during challenging times, I found myself able to fall back on the list of things I forced myself to make, and truly feeling a shift occur within myself. So yes, this includes the lessons I've learned during the tough times, as well as the amazing adventures, priceless memories and moments, and good times. In communication of my thanks to others, authenticity is important here too, as I would distinguish that there’s an intentionality of sharing genuine appreciation, not just a mandated or forced action for my own benefit.
Different Faces of Gratitude...
Research distinguishes various forms of gratitude – as a more stable, dispositional trait, or something that can be fostered amidst your day that positively impacts your mood. It can range in its intensity of the feeling, how often you feel it, and can be a few things we you typically grateful for or span to many different aspects. Sometimes, it can be fostered when we take a moment to recognize all we do have, even sometimes seemingly insignificant things or moments, like your first sip of coffee, or when sharing a laugh with a colleague, or getting help from a friend, it can be fostered during prayers or reflections, gratitude for our lives itself, when taking in nature, feeling a sense of awe, or realizing nothing is permanent, or even when we experience a loss, or see others who have less, we can feel grateful for all we do have.
Below you'll find the range of aspects I am grateful for during my day. What about you? What are you grateful for?