Written by Team Optimity
2 minute read
Could thanking your lucky stars for an unblemished bag of avocadoes make you a healthier person?
Can appreciating your cubicle mate’s sense of humour help you become a better spouse?
What about being grateful that the bus waited for you this morning: could that help you grow resiliency?
The answer may surprise you.
Gratitude, it turns out, is a winning attitude (not just for Holidays, but every day)! According to positive psychology research, gratitude – a thankful appreciation for the positive things in your life – is strongly associated with lowered depression and anxiety, better sleep quality, and greater satisfaction in romantic relationships.
Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Mental Health Letter notes: “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
When we recognize and appreciate the good things in our lives – big and small – we create a positive reinforcement loop. We feel better about our lives, and we are primed to look for even more positivity. In other words, gratitude is the gift that keeps giving!
A gratitude diary is one of the simplest ways to cultivate gratitude. Just take five minutes a day to list a few things you are thankful for. You could use a journal, jot notes in your day planner, or illustrate your list in a sketchbook. Or use a phone app – it’s all good!
If finding things to be grateful for doesn’t come naturally, don’t fret. With practice, you can be a virtuoso gratitude practitioner – and reap the associated health and wellness benefits.
Use this time to reflect on your day. Sometimes your thoughts may gravitate to the MVPs in your life: a supportive friend or loved one, that colleague who’s always got your back. Or you may find your thoughts shifting towards low-key pleasures: the way the sun broke through the forest canopy when you walked your dog today. Or the funny conversation you had with your barista.
Even if you feel stuck, try journaling for a few days in a row; once you start, you’ll find more and more to be grateful for. Nothing’s off-limits. Today, for instance, I’m grateful I found time to work out. I’m grateful my son had a PA Day and was home to help me wrangle our ornery cat into his carrier for his vet visit. I’m grateful I had leftovers and didn’t have to make myself lunch (I know: I lead a glamourous life, right?) And I’m grateful to have a job where I can write about cool things… like gratitude!
Join the discussion: What are some of the things you are grateful for?