During the holiday season, we often talk about being thankful.
We appreciate our friends and family and our health. We look at
everything in our favor and ponder our positive life experiences.
When we do this, we are indeed practicing the art of gratitude.
Gratitude is defined as "the
feeling of appreciation and thanks." It is an emotion
expressing gratefulness for what one has-as opposed what one
wants or needs. Gratitude brings about the opportunity to see a
situation from more angles. Instead of focusing on what is missing,
we can assess what is. It opens up the opportunity for new
solutions and is associated with amplified levels of energy and
In addition to a more positive life attitude, gratitude has
health benefits. It reduces stress levels and thus allows us to
cope with daily problems in a more controlled manner. An optimistic
attitude also boosts the immune system (for example, it helps us
maintain higher number of blood cells that protect us); gratitude
helps us function better.
Although this all sounds good, we are not hardwired to be
grateful. We need to consciously practice gratitude in order for it
to become part of our lives and to reap its benefits.
So, here are some tips for cultivating gratitude …
- Make an
internal note - As you go about your day, note a thing or two
for which you are grateful. No need for diaries or apps, just a
quick moment of appreciation will do.
- Make an external effort- A compliment to a friend or a family
member can play an important role in you becoming conscious of what
you have. Involve others in your appreciativeness.
- Make a commitment- This one is the most demanding, but it can
bring about the most positive change in your life. Set a challenge
for yourself: Vow not to complain for 3 days (or any other period
of time) and notice the energy you spend on negativity. I guarantee
that it will open your eyes to the powerful effects of being
Being Grateful is Good for Your Health
On top of becoming more energetic and optimistic, you may also
experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better,
be kinder, and even have a stronger
immune system. And while being thankful is at the core of the
holiday season, gratitude doesn't need to be reserved only for
momentous occasions. See how the tips above can change your life
every day, all year round.