What is gratitude?
It's defined as "giving thanks and appreciation" for the things and people around you. It's looking beyond your wants, hopes, dreams, and misgivings, and actually seeing the positive things around you.
Personally, I've learned so much throughout my years on the power of gratitude. As I grow more familiar with who I am and what I want to become, I become more certain that thankfulness is EVERYTHING.
To me this means being thankful for my family, my friends, the food on my table, oxygen in the air, the sun shining in the sky, and even the fact I'm able to walk, talk and breathe.
There is always going to be something I "wish" I had or things I "hope" will happen, but I'm determined that those things won't take away from the beauty of the moment.
I've made quite a bit of notes on this topic and wanted to share them with you. I hope you'll find them helpful in your pursuit to enjoy the present and appreciate what's in front of you.
#1 - Gratitude makes us happier and more positive.
As I mentioned in the intro above, the secret to being thankful is recognizing what is right in front of our noses.
I find that when I suffer, it's usually because I'm often lamenting about what isn't or what hasn't yet been.
But, when I am filled with gratitude my relationships improve, I'm more effective in what I do, my self-worth is healthier, and I'm way more satisfied in the moment.
#2 - Gratitude makes us more patient.
Being grateful for what we have now in our lives tells the universe that we'll be just as thankful for what is to come. We're able to be patient knowing that the right things will fall into place at the right time.
Also, noticing the beauty that surrounds us in the present moment sends a message to everyone around you that you're at ease with the way life is flowing.
#3 - Gratitude is amazing for our health.
Science is increasingly showing that people who practice gratitude are usually less stressed, sleep better, more energetic, and less depressed.
Practicing gratitude has even been proven to stimulate the medial prefrontal cortex, which is associated with learning and healthy decision making. Put simply, when we're grateful we are more attentive to people, information, and life in general.
Tips for Practicing Gratitude
I seem to learn something new about the practice of gratitude every day. I've found that the following practices help me stay on track:
- Make a habit of constantly giving thanks, no matter what happens — for the big and small things. Even when life becomes complicated or heavy, I try the best I can to stay focused on the lesson I'm being taught and how I can grow.
- Journal & take notes. Each morning when I wake up, I journal and list out the things I'm thankful for. This helps me immediately get into the gratitude zone and dive into my day on a positive note.
- Search for the miracles in life. I remember as a child seeing miracles all around me. I know that beauty surrounds us if we're bold enough to look for it. Whenever I'm feeling a bit off, I'm trying to search for miracles — butterflies, clouds drifting through the sky, my children's laughter, my husband's kindness, and more. Life itself is a miracle, as we float through space and time.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes on gratitude. Please read them and feel free to share your own favorite quote in the comment section below:
“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.” -Roy T. Bennett
“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.” -unknown
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” -Melody Beattie
“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” -Mary Davis
“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” -Randy Rausch