We all hear so much about giving thanks, and what a great idea it is. But really, does it make a big difference?
You bet it does!
Whether things are going very well or very poorly in life, anyone can find something to be grateful for. Regardless of the circumstances, feeling grateful will help you when you’re feeling discouraged. Giving thanks will really enhance the good feelings when you’re in a positive frame of mind.
Some people experience much gratitude than others. But wait for it – research has shown that those who experience more gratitude do way better both emotionally and physically.
So what should one do with this information? Well, look for things to be grateful for. Even in the face of something quite difficult, one can find things to be grateful for. It’s all about that “silver lining”. For example, someone in the hospital can be grateful for a nurse’s kindness, good medical care, or someone’s visit. Someone stuck on a delayed airplane can feel grateful for the rich conversation he had with a fellow passenger. Someone grieving the death of a loved one after a prolonged illness will be comforted to know that their loved one is no longer suffering. Someone experiencing interpersonal conflict can be grateful for the personal growth it is leading to: becoming more tolerant of differences, more assertive, or more forgiving. There are so many inspiring stories of people facing huge hardships who were able to look at the positive things and feel gratitude for them. One of these is Victor Frankl, who describes his experiences in a concentration camp in his book, “Man’s Search For Meaning”. It sold over 50 million copies. I highly recommend it!
There are many things that we tend to take for granted that we can genuinely feel grateful for. These include health, family, friends, work, nature, art, food, comforts, challenges, personal growth, and even life itself.
Gratitude tends to go along with a belief that you are loved and deserving, and that the Universe is benevolent. These are healthy and adaptive beliefs.
When you share with others what you are thankful for, you invite them into gratitude too. What an awesome way to get closer to those you love.
Over time, as you practice noticing things you can be grateful for, it becomes a natural habit, and an incredibly healthy one that makes you happier. And over time, it can become an even stronger habit!