Many influencers and companies are naming the time before Thanksgiving as a Week of Gratitude. I got inspired to do the same. So what is gratitude really?
Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Thankfulness and gratitude clearly go hand in hand. A lot of families, mine included, take time on Thanksgiving to have everyone at the table tell what they are grateful for. For the ones who go first, it is easy. They can say "Family" or "This food." and be done. For the people who go later, they may struggle a bit. If you don't practice being thankful or grateful, you're not very good at it. Life gets busy and the day to day responsibilities get in the way of doing regular gratitude practice.
So why is it important to practice gratitude? (not just so you can perform better at the Thanksgiving table)
- To bring more positivity into your life. Optimism is the heart of gratitude. When you can focus on the things you are grateful for, you are seeing the good in your life and not dwelling on the negative.
- Gratitude increases happiness. When you're grateful for friends and family in your life, you often express those feelings more to those folks. The love grows exponentially! Negative thoughts have less room in your mind as well.
- Gratitude can improve your well being! When you're grateful for your health, you are more likely to care for it properly. Working out, eating healthy, drinking water, and getting check-ups are more common for those who are grateful for their health.
Mayo Clinic has done studies and found the having a positive mindset leads to a longer life span, lower rates of stress and depression, a stronger immune system, better coping skills, increased psychological well being and even a lower rate of heart disease. That's a pretty impressive list of benefits.
So how do you practice gratitude? There's no one correct way to do it - just choose what works best for you. One way is to keep a gratitude journal and write in it regularly. Some people love the act of writing in a pretty book, so this works well. You could also do something simple like using your 5 senses to notice things around you at any given moment and be thankful for them in your world. Another way is to nurture the healthy relationships that you have in your life. Good friends are so valuable and sometimes become more supportive than family relationships. You could also try to smile more. Sounds simple, but putting a smile on your face can really change your attitude, plus it will positively affect those around you as well. There are literally unlimited ways that you can practice gratitude, but it is important that you do it regularly so it becomes a habit.
So while I can't say that I always practice gratitude every day, it's something I would like to get better at. I think everyone can use a bit more positivity in their day!
For the record, I'm grateful for the opportunity to start this business with the support of my family and friends. I'm grateful for the partners I've developed along the way who have helped and taught me in big and small ways. I'm grateful for my husband and kids who don't complain when we have grilled cheese again because I was working late. I'm just plain grateful to wake up every day and be excited to go to work. I hope your list of things you're grateful for is long! Happy Thanksgiving!