There are research studies that document the neurological and psychosocial benefits of gratitude. It has been shown to improve our heart health, blood pressure, immune system and personal relationships. It has been correlated with reduction in anxiety and depression, and with instilling a more positive outlook when practiced on a daily basis. As a self care tool, it is one of the most uncomplicated paths to wellness; it is cost free and does not ever require a prescription.
Some simple ways to increase gratitude:
Start small and in the present moment. Take a breath and think about what you aware of right now that you could be grateful for. The warmth of sunshine, the comfort of a soft sweater or scarf, the support of whatever is beneath you are examples of experiences that could be more in our conscious awareness every day. Our gratitude increases when we take time to slow down and focus on it.
Think about what you might be taking for granted because you have it all the time. The other night our water heater was down and there was no hot water for bathing. By the next night the problem had been resolved and it was so wonderful to soak in a hot tub that my gratitude was very conscious. The refreshment of a drink of water, the food you eat, the beauty of nature outside your door are all things we often take for granted. Choose for a moment here and there to be thankful for the simple everyday things that make your life more pleasant.
Express gratitude to people you care about. Tell them what they mean to you, how deeply you are grateful for their presence in your life, or perhaps even write a letter of gratitude to someone who made your life better. Include yourself as you pass the gratitude around.
Set aside a moment or two every day to think about gratitude. Program your phone or computer remind you to take a breath and focus on gratitude once a day. Perhaps you might set aside a few minutes before you go to bed and do an inventory of what in your day you can be thankful for and write about it in a journal.
Pay attention for opportunities for gratitude as you go about your day. I get grateful if I get a parking spot near where I want to be, or if I catch a glimpse of a pretty sky. You can generate more public gratitude by sincerely saying "thank you" with a smile whenever it suits the occasion.
"There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness." Ocean Robbins