According to The Washington Post, “people who consciously choose daily to seek out things in their lives to be thankful are, research has shown, happier and healthier.” Citing a 2003 study, the article explains that those who take time each day to journal about their gratitudes rather than their complaints “had a more positive outlook on life, exercised more, and reported fewer physical problems.” In addition, studies have found that “practicing gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.” 88% of patients who were suicidal felt less hopeless after writing a letter of gratitude.
Get to Work
Gratitude works, but gratitude also takes work. Unfortunately, being grateful is somewhat counter intuitive in today’s society. One isn’t just naturally grateful. The world teaches us not to be grateful. Marketing, advertising, and the majority of mainstream westernized culture is focused on more. We should never be content, complacent, or satisfied- we have nothing to be grateful about. There is always something new, something prettier, something shinier, something more exciting. Why should we be grateful when nothing is ever enough? More importantly, how could we be grateful when we feel that we are never enough? This is why so many struggle with the practice of gratitude. They cannot be grateful for themselves.
State of Being
Gratitude is a state of being as well as a thing one does. Grateful is a way to be. Gratitude is a way to live. Practicing gratitude can be as simple as making a list of things you are grateful for each day. Gratitude can mean expressing your gratitude to other people in thoughtful ways. Being polite, saying thank you and displaying courteousness is a way of showing gratitude.
Whatever your gratitude practice may be, it is important to start one. Now is always better than later when it comes to beginning this practice. Developing a routine of gratitude takes time and effort because it is so unfamiliar.