An Attitude of Gratitude

Practicing compassion and gratefulness increases your happiness quotient.
Practicing compassion and gratefulness increases your happiness quotient.

It isn’t really a surprise. I’m on a gratitude kick this month, but really, shouldn’t we all be grateful all of the time? It’s a great way to increase your own happiness, and that of those close to you. Practicing an attitude of gratitude can make you healthier, less stressed, and more optimistic. How about them apples? 🍎🍎And bonus –  it’s been shown to have positive effects on your career and relationships.

Clearly gratitude is a worthy practice, and there are a gazillion online resources filled with insights, inspiration, and ideas to help you be thankful. Whether it’s a journal, sending a thank you note, or simply saying “thank you”, there are many ways to express appreciation and thankfulness.

Embracing gratitude is easy when life is going well, but over the past year I’ve discovered just how powerful that attitude can be when life is handing you a raw deal and a tough time.

During my trials, I have been fortunate to have a few really good friends and family members show me kindness, love, and compassion. I know I’m not always the easiest at acceptance when I’m panicked and out of my mind. One of the many ways I coped with my building anxiety was learning mindfulness, meditation and how to transfer my attention from crazed fear to sincere appreciation. Every time I found myself drowning in anxiety, I stopped to ask myself: What can I be thankful for today? Right this moment?

While I won’t deny that my experience hasn’t always been pleasant, it did give me the opportunity to have a life-changing revelation: expressing gratitude can be a transformative experience. So much so that I am opting in for a total career change. (MB regulars know I’m studying to be a life coach – more on that as I progress). Being thankful not only helps me cope with my anxieties, but expressing my appreciation helps me strengthen my relationships with everyone in my life. The more I focus on being thankful, the less time I have to wallow in my troubles.

If you are experiencing any of life’s highs or lows, you have a lot to gain from taking your appreciation and sharing it with the world. Here are a few ideas for having and sharing that attitude of gratitude:

  • Teach someone something new. We all have unique talents. No matter if it’s big or small, we all have knowledge we can share with others. Sharing what we know shows an appreciation for others because we value them enough to teach them something. It’s also a chance to be grateful for your own personal knowledge and skills. I like to think when I post each week, that someone is getting something inherently good and useful from my share.
  • Share something positive where it is least expected. Have you ever had someone in a shop or café just be amazing? Friendly, courteous, helpful? How awesome would it be for them if you praised them or mentioned it to management? Tell people about great experiences you have had- use social media- why not? People are grateful to hear positive reviews about themselves and it’s a great way for you to show your gratitude.

    Got friends you think might click? Introduce them!
    Got friends you think might click? Introduce them!
  • Connect two people who might get along. Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts, and what better way to show your gratitude than to help create more positive relationships? If you think two friends might hit it off, introduce them to each other. Not only are you showing your gratitude for their friendship in general, but also that you love and value both friends.
  • How about an old school handwritten letter? I still believe that a handwritten thank-you is one of the nicest ways to express gratitude in a time when most people send a quick two word email or text message. But when was the last time you wrote a letter to express your appreciation? Take a few minutes to pen a full-page letter to a loved one, expressing your gratitude for everything they’ve done for you. Or send a card to that favorite professor or neighbor who impacted your life. They will appreciate it – I promise.
  • How about decluttering and donating? We all have clothing, books, toys, etc. that we never pick up, wear or use anymore. Choosing to donate these things to those in need is not only generous and kind, but also a way to express gratitude for the opportunity you had to buy and enjoy them, and to pass them along to someone in need. The will have that attitude of gratitude as well.

So whether or not you choose to express gratitude using one of these tips, it’s my hope that now you are inspired to think outside the box when it comes to showing gratefulness. Be appreciative of the people and experiences in your life.

Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to make your world a happier place. The more you practice it, the more you’ll find to be grateful for, and the happier you will be.

Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕

Please enjoy “Thanks For the Memories” by Fall Out Boy