Gratitude is something I’ve written about many times. It’s always extra pertinent around Thanksgiving.
As part of our company’s wellness program, we had a series of webinars on emotional resilience. Jen Arnold (of Redesigning Wellness, Inc.) who led the sessions, sent a series of follow-up e-mails.
As she explained, gratitude has the ability to impact your well-being in the following ways:
- Improves physical health
- Opens the door to more relationships
- Improves psychological health
- Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
- Improves sleep
- Improves self-esteem
- Increases mental strength and resilience
Brain scans show that when subjects are instructed to count their blessings there is increased activity in the part of the brain associated with happiness.
She then included some great ways I hadn’t heard of to express gratitude…
Practicing gratitude is easy and free—you just have to be willing and determined to set aside 5-10 “mindful minutes” for reflection each day.
Here are 5 Ways to Practice Gratitude:
- Three Good Things: Take a few minutes every evening to write down three good things about your day. The entries don’t have to be major events—they might be as simple as a good meal, talking to a friend, or getting through a difficult challenge.
- Write a Letter: Think about someone who has had a major impact on your life, someone who you would like to thank, or someone who you appreciate having in your life. Write a letter with specific details about what it is you appreciate about them, and send it.
- Visit Someone you Appreciate: Write a letter to someone you appreciate as described above, but instead of mailing it, deliver the letter in person. Don’t tell them why you’re visiting! Read them their letter, and then allow them to keep it as a memento.
- Say “Thank You”: Keep your eyes open throughout the day for reasons to say “thanks”. Try to recognize the small actions people do every day that might be overlooked such as a colleague who always goes the extra mile, or a friend who always seems willing to listen.
- Take a Gratitude Walk: Go for a walk and make a special effort to appreciate your surroundings. You might notice the smell of flowers, a pretty building, or a soothing breeze. Spend a few minutes focusing on each of your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) to find new things you may not have noticed before.
How do you practice gratitude? Please join the conversation with your comments…