An Attitude of Gratitude
There is strong scientific evidence for the impact of gratitude on positivity. Gratitude boosts positivity by increasing the frequency of pleasant emotions you experience as you think about all that is good in your life. Gratitude involves not just thanking someone, but also things like savoring the moment, counting your blessings, and truly appreciating what you have.
Grateful people are more optimistic, helpful, enthusiastic and energetic. They are less likely to feel depressed and anxious and report fewer physical discomforts like headaches. They also sleep better! Gratitude improves your relationships because you tend to treat people better when you remember how thankful you are to have them in your life.
Here are some proven interventions for cultivating gratitude in your personal and professional life:
- Keep a gratitude journal – Once a week, write down five things for which you are grateful. You can include anything from your kids helping you fold the clothes, to the gorgeous sunset, to finally finishing that report.
- Write a gratitude letter – Write a letter to someone who has been especially kind or helpful to you but whom you have never properly thanked. You might choose your sister, or a former teacher, or a colleague. You could also pick someone you don’t know personally, but who has influenced your life like an author or someone who works in your industry. One option is to visit or call this person and read the letter to them. However, simply writing the letter without ever sending it is enough to increase your happiness.
- Count your blessings – Choose a specific time in your day to take a moment to appreciate what is good in your life. This might be before falling asleep, or on your drive home, or first thing in the morning. The important thing is to make counting your blessings a part of your daily routine.
How often do you think about what is good in your life? Maybe you are too busy to stop and count your blessings. Why not take a minute right now to reflect on what you are grateful for? Or perhaps you could send a quick e-mail of thanks to someone whom you appreciate? Try it out and see how it makes you feel!