Now that Thanksgiving is over, and everyone has expressed lots of gratitude to their family, friends, co-workers, over Facebook, and through other social media outlets, does this mean we are done with expressing gratitude? It shouldn’t mean that, but often it does.
Gratitude is a practice that should be expressed on a daily basis. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can increase your level of happiness. Our brain often has a negativity bias, meaning that when we hear something our brain most often goes to the negative thought instead of the positive thought, and stays there longer versus moving to a positive thought. Through expressing gratitude on a regular basis, your brain will automatically begin to go to the positive versus the negative.
It has been shown that you will experience better health, increased energy, better relationships, and a more positive attitude. Additionally, it also a way to help decrease depression and increase your mood. By expressing gratitude, it is not necessarily that you would only thank people as a form of gratitude, it is things as little as being grateful for waking up in the morning, seeing the sun shine, having fresh water to drink, or having good health.
Here are some things you can do to express gratitude and have an overall happier outlook on life:
- Write in a journal and express three things you are grateful for that day. (Make sure that every day you are writing something different.)
- Write an email to someone in your life (personal or work), and express gratitude.
- Do a random act of kindness. By doing something for others, even though it might be a small gesture, provides a good feeling for yourself. This is also really easy for kids to as well.
- Open the door for a stranger
- Clean a room in the house that you might not normally do
- Take the dog for a walk without being asked
- Meditate or engage in mindful activities. Even if you are able to take 5 minutes to begin with, that’s a great place to start. If this is something that resonates with you, build on increasing your meditation time slowly
- Tell someone how much you appreciate them.
Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to cost anything except your time and effort. It is the small things in life that people appreciate. You never know how your expressing gratitude might just be the thing that brightens someone’s day. Give it a try, and see how much better you also feel!