“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy” Brother David Steindl-Rast
Gratitude is a gift we give to ourselves. In fact, gratitude actually changes brains. Neuroscientists have found that people who practice gratitude can change their response to how they experience events in their lives. This response is also seen in people who keep a regular mindfulness or meditation practice.
Gratitude helps us recognize the abundance of good in our lives. Feelings of appreciation, peace and contentment begin to become stronger than feelings of frustration, criticism or what we perceive is lacking. Research on gratitude practice shows gratitude is beneficial in decreasing depressive symptoms, increases overall feelings of wellbeing, improves our working memory, improves sleep, immune function, improves relationships and improves coping skills and resiliency when we face challenges.
Here are few ways of practicing gratitude.
- Download a gratitude assessment here.
- Write down or think of three good things every day in a journal or on a post it note
- Keep a gratitude jar at home or in the office. Empty it and read the contents every month with those who contribute to the jar.
- Send a thankyou letter-to a child, a teacher, a spouse or a coworker. Whoever comes to mind.
- Show your appreciation, let someone know you appreciate what they do for you.
- Savor everyday experiences. Get out into nature and use all of your senses to take in your surroundings. Enjoy the beauty of freshly fallen snow. Savor the smells of the holiday season.