“We think we have to do something to be grateful or something has to be done in order for us to be grateful, when gratitude is a state of being.”
— Iyanla Vanzant
Even if you are spiritually grounded and conscious of all of the wonderful gifts life has brought you, there are bound to be days when you just cannot hold onto that positive outlook. Is it worth making an effort to overcome those grumpy moments? Absolutely!
The latest psychology research shows that feeling grateful about the good things in your life and finding ways to give thanks will improve your mental and physical health even if you are already battling an illness such as heart disease.
Folks who are grateful sleep better, have more energy, better moods, and lower levels of the type of inflammation that contributes to heart disease and hypertension. Participants in a recent study who had high gratitude scores also felt they could be more effective in their own lives.
Try these simple ways to cultivate gratitude each day:
- Write about it. This weekend, pick out a notebook to use as your “gratitude journal” and start jotting down a few things that you are thankful for most days. It can be something to do while you sip your morning coffee or settle in to go to bed. Journaling will not only help you notice life’s little pleasures, it will give you a source of pleasant thoughts to turn to on difficult days.
- Use words that matter. Make a conscious effort to use words that calm, soothe, and inspire. The words you hear, write, and speak can actually change the way your genes function, reports Andrew Newberg, M.D. As you talk to yourself and others, think of what you say and the message you are conveying. Words such as peace, love, and thank you have tremendous power. Negative, hostile language can be depressing and destructive.
- Hang with happy people. Positive thinking is contagious. Whenever possible, surround yourself with friends and family that see and appreciate the brighter side of life.
- Commit a random act of kindness. Find a way to give back as a way of giving thanks for all of the wonderful things that exist in your life. Bring a bag of groceries to the local food pantry this Saturday; put a little extra money in the collection plate on Sunday, or visit and elderly neighbor who might appreciate a little company. Your actions will lift your spirits and possibly inspire others to do the same.
- Remember the good times. Take a moment to recall some of the amazing people who have helped you get to where you are today. Thinking back to the mentors, friends, lovers, and family who helped you along life’s journey is sure to fill your heart with gratitude and a little bit of joy.
About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being
We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.
To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life, or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.