On a particularly trying day when I was delving in self-pity, my daughter chided, "you are not practicing gratitude Mama! Look at these blankets you have to keep you warm. We have so much food in the kitchen for us to eat. We are healthy!" It was a loving reminder to practice something I know is good for me. Gratitude isn't just a tool to make one feel better on hard days though. It's a practice that is actually good for your health. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can help us feel happier, reduce anxiety and depression, help us sleep better, strengthen our relationships, and promote forgiveness. Grateful people are more likely to "pay-it-forward" and children who practice gratitude are noted to be more kind.
An easy way to get started on a gratitude practice is journaling. Notice not just the big things but the small events you appreciate. Someone held the door open for me when I had a lot in my hands. A parking spot appeared right where I needed it. Rain! Focus on feeling thankful for a person rather than a thing. Look for the unexpected surprises and savor them. They elicit a deeper sense of gratitude.
Prefer a journal that is more portable? Try an online gratitude journal like www.thnx4.org .