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The Importance of Gratitude

When’s the last time you wrote a gratitude list? Before you roll your eyes or skim through this, seriously when is the last time you sat down and said or wrote down “thank you“ to the universe or God or whoever or whatever you believe in? I bet if you did you would be amazed at all of the things there are for you to be grateful for.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. You may think that its easy but gratitude requires stillness and reflection. A lot of what we don’t make time for.

Studies have shown how being grateful can improve relationships. For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship. So the next time you notice your partner did the dishes, cooked dinner, took out the trash etc… see how far a simple “I really appreciate you for doing x y and z” can go. You see things that we take for granted by thinking “that’s what they’re suppose to do” is a misconception. Think about it… when your significant other leaves the place a mess how does that make you feel? irritated right? and I’m pretty sure if you’re like the rest of us you have no problem expressing your displeasure. So, why not appreciate what they do? Worth a shot right? Studies also show that supervisors that express gratitude towards their employees by simply thanking them, find that those employees feel more motivated to work harder.

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of searching for something new in hopes that the next thing will make them happier. Gratitude helps people focus on what they have instead of what they don’t. Although it may feel or sound strange at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

If the idea of beginning a gratitude list feels overwhelming or cheesy, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be difficult. What I practice with my clients is having them set aside time each day to think or write about three things that they’re grateful for or writing a gratitude letter once a week. When they’ve got that down and are feeling comfortable expressing gratitude, I have them set a goal to actually tell someone that they appreciate them.

A gratitude list looks something like this…

I am grateful for the air I breathe

I am thankful for my health and those that I love health

I am thankful for the bed I sleep in

I am thankful for the internet

I am grateful for smiles

See it doesn’t have to be complex. Sign up for a free session and lets discuss all of the many things there are for you to be grateful for. You got this and remember

The only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves.

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