So you have an awesome family, a job that you enjoy, and a beautiful home. But you notice that you aren’t as happy as you would like to be. You notice that you get bogged down by the day to day stresses which seem to take over and impact your state of mind. Gratitude may be just what you need. What we choose to focus on in our life has a big impact on our overall well-being. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful or expressing appreciation for what one has. Thanksgiving is a time to remind ourselves to be grateful, and offers a reset for the coming year. Incorporating a daily practice of gratitude in our lives is a powerful act of self-care.
Research has shown that some of us are wired to experience and express gratitude automatically while others have a harder time. The good news is that we can all deliberately cultivate gratitude with practice. In the psychology world we call this cognitive restructuring. Noticing our self-talk or inner dialogue and actively choosing to focus on the positive decreases stress and improves mood. With a regular gratitude practice we begin to train the mind to notice things to be grateful for throughout our day.
How do you go about fitting gratitude into your day and what do you focus on? Finding the time should be relatively easy to do, as it requires only a couple of minutes. Consistency is the key here. Some like to keep a journal and, either before bed or upon awakening, jot down a few things that they are grateful for. Others are less formal and review their gratitude in their minds. Don’t just look for the “big” things to be grateful for. Notice everything. Even the most challenging parts of our lives can be appreciated for the opportunities for growth. Over time you’ll notice that “getting grateful” has a real payoff for both your mood and overall wellness.