4 Ways to Increase Gratitude

Written by Posted On Monday, 25 November 2019 05:30

It’s Thanksgiving week, and most people are getting ready to spend time with their family for the start of the busy holiday season.  In your rush to get everything done, take time each day to be grateful and express your thanks to those who are helping you–whether it is at home, your assistant at work, or the check-out clerk at the grocery store. 

Cultivating an attitude of appreciation for others isn’t just a nice thing to do, it has many positive side-effects! Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Increases happiness and boosts your self-esteem. Research shows that people who journal every day for even as little as five minutes to acknowledge what they are grateful for are happier, have a more positive outlook on life, and increased self-esteem.
2. Being grateful improves all of our relationships. Whether at work, with a spouse or other family member, or with friends, people who are grateful have stronger relationships, and are able work through problems better with the people they interact with.  People who are grateful also have bigger social networks which gives the person the support they need when they are going through challenging times.
3. Improves your health.  While we know that being grateful makes a person happier, did you know that also translates into some important health benefits? Research shows that gratitude journaling will reduce blood pressure and improve the quality of sleep. Another study showed that people who participated in an 11-week gratitude program were more likely to exercise than those who weren’t.  For people with depression, practicing daily gratitude will lessen symptoms. Harvard Medical School found that their coronary patients had improved healing and recovery times. Researchers at UCLA showed through the use of brain imaging that gratitude actually changes the molecular structure of the brain! Gratitude boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin and activates the brain to produce dopamine—both of which are known to make you feel happier.
4. Enhances your management skills. This one may seem surprising, but gratitude research shows that managers who practice gratitude are better mentors, and are able to motivate their staff more effectively. This leads to happier employees, and less turn-over. Gratitude will also help you find more purpose in the work you do.

It’s clear that practicing gratitude has many positive attributes, but how do you get started? Here are some suggestions:

• Start each day with writing down five things you are grateful for. It can be anything from appreciating your hot shower in the morning, that first cup of coffee, being in good health, having a loving family, or appreciating your career or home. The point isn’t about how “big” the thing is that you’re grateful for—it’s about noticing all the good you have in your life, and being appreciative of that. The Law of Attraction says that what you focus on increases—so to bring more positive things into your life, be grateful for what you have.
• Make a point to send at least one thank-you note each week to someone who has helped you in some way. If you can’t think of anything specific, then write a note to a friend or family member and thank them for always being there for you.
• Take some quiet time each day and think about something that went really well. Let yourself experience how that felt to you. Tap into that feeling every day.
• Tell a family member, a friend, or a co-worker something that you really appreciate about them.

Developing an “attitude of gratitude” isn’t complicated. All it takes is slowing down to really notice all the good you have surrounding you.  As Zig Ziglar said, “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.”  Give it a try for 30 days, and see how your life starts to change as you focus on all the things that make your life great!

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Terri Murphy

Terri Murphy, Communication engagement specialist, author, speaker, consultant, and Master Coach with Workman Success.  She is the author of 5 books, TedTalk speaker and co-radio host on KWAMtheVoice.com. Contact: TerriMurphy.com or Email: Terri@TerriMurphy.com


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