Studies show that practicing gratitude enhances your well-being. What is gratitude? According to Dictionary.com: Gratitude isreadiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Sounds simple right?
I will be honest and say I was surprised to see how many online articles there are that teach people how to show gratitude. How can this be? Is it really that hard to be happy and show people that we are thankful for what our lives hold? It then became apparent to me, that we may be letting the negative struggles take focus off how happy life can be, or is. Taking on a routine of meditation, can help with that. Looking within, and breathing in the moment, will help you become aware of yourself and where your focus needs to shift. For some, that means taking the emphasis off negativity and realizing what makes you happy, makes you smile.
“Gratitude opens the door to…the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the Universe. You open the door through gratitude.” ~Deepak Chopra
If you struggle to recognize your level of gratitude, perhaps you can start a journal, logging the things and times you show or feel gratitude. Practicing conscience gratitude can enhance your over all well being, lowering your chances for depression and anxiety. It seems as simple as shifting your focus off the negative things that can drag you down, to focusing on the positive aspects that give you that happy lift. Makes me think of the age old saying, ‘is the glass half empty or half full?’
Ask yourself these questions through out your day:
1. Did someone or something give me inspiration today?
2. What was the best part of my day?
3. Did someone or something make me smile?
4. Did I conscientiously show my gratitude to some one who inspired or helped me today?
Teaching children how to be grateful and to show gratitude is a diminishing practice, I think. Children are becoming materially focused, demanding wants and not recognizing their true needs, and the needs of others. This is contributing to the rudeness we see in our society today. I found a cute project that can be implemented to get your household to recognize the people, places or things they are grateful for.
1. Arrange tree branches in a colorful planter, pot or vase
2. Cut out paper leaves, flowers or hearts in different colors, shapes, and sizes
3. Place the shapes in a bowl, along with markers, and put the bowl next to the tree branches.
4. Have each family member pick a shape, and write down something that they’re grateful for on it
5. Hang the leaf from the tree branches.
I think this will encourage the whole family or guests, to express gratitude for the things in life that truly inspire them, and contribute to their happiness.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward