Ways to build gratefulness into your daily routine
Americans celebrated Thanksgiving last week and took time to not only eat copious amounts of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, but also to give thanks. Traditionally, the day is spent with family and friends and provides a reminder of how fortunate we are to have those in our lives that we care about. The warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with expressing gratitude and thanks does not have to be a once a year phenomenon.
Positive psychology research links gratitude to greater happiness. After all, it seems logical that people who list things they are thankful for have a more positive outlook and are happier than those that list things that have gone wrong throughout their day. While this research isn’t earth shattering, pausing to actually reflect on things that we are thankful is something most of us don’t do on a regular basis.
Coaching provides a platform for clients to explore topics and a mirror to examine things from a different perspective. Putting overall mental well being on this platform is not always an obvious choice, but the benefits impact all areas of a client’s life. Giving thanks in July is as important as in November.
Make it a habit
While Thanksgiving is on your mind, create a new habit of being grateful. List three things you are thankful for per day. This is an easy one to do when you are brushing your teeth before heading to bed. Going one step further and writing this down helps to cement the awareness that there is a lot to be grateful for and leads to increased happiness.
Big and Small
There are big-ticket items that we are thankful for, like good health, but don’t forget the small things or those that have become so routine we take them for granted. Having hot water for your shower often goes unnoticed until your water heater needs repair. Consider the big picture view as well as the details in your life when listing the things you are grateful for.
Actually saying thank you not only lets others know they are appreciated; it also helps you feel better. Upon returning from the U.S., a Chinese client remarked that “Americans say thank you all the time-you haven’t done anything to be thanked for, and yet they say it.” There is the general “Thanks” when someone holds a door open for you and the more in depth “Thank you” that comes with knowing when someone has done something that you appreciate. Noticing and acknowledging this kindness helps to punctuate your day with markers of the goodness in your life.