A simple exercise to improve health and happiness is to think of three things you are grateful for every day. Research indicates that this is likely to help you sleep better, improve your ability to make sensible decisions, nourish your relationships, and maybe even stop you from overeating.
Did you ever notice that when you think about things on your ’to do’ list, your body responds by tensing in preparation? There is a slight clench of the jaw, usually a stiffening of the shoulders, a shortening of the breath. When you think about things for which you are grateful, your body eases and relaxes. Shoulders release away from the ears and there may even be the hint of a smile on your face as your breath moves more freely.
Poet Kathryn Stripling Byer wrote “I will learn to be grateful for whatever comes to me.” Even difficult situations can provide opportunities for gratitude. Challenging times can strip away the self we think we are and force us to go deeper inside, to reevaluate who were thought we were. We learn about things like surrender and tolerance, perseverance and creativity, and sometimes we discover resources we didn’t even know we had. So when you find yourself feeling stressed or going for that third piece of pie, stop, take a breath, and redirect your thoughts to something that opens your heart in gratitude.