As you gather with your families today and take time to appreciate what you have, think about what it would be like to be grateful every day…
For one, taking time out of your day to focus on being thankful takes the spotlight away from your inner critical voice. As humans, we often pay more attention to the negatives in our lives and pay little mind to the good things that we have. When you take time to think about the things that you have to be thankful for, you move away from those negative thoughts and emotions. Focusing on the things that are going well in your life instead of letting the bad things consume your time– will take you a long way. Don’t spend so much time staring at a door which has closed that you miss the one that has opened in front of you.
For two, gratitude helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals. Whether this means to other people, nature, or a higher power is up to you. Taking a step back to focus on what is important in your life will allow you shake off the small issues. Is the never-ending laundry in your house really that big of a deal? Is your co-worker hurting your feelings that one time, two months ago.. really something you want to keep holding on to? Taking time to express gratitude helps you to see things on a bigger scale. The truth is we are all living on a floating ball AND NO ONE really knows the meaning of life or the exact way that you should live your life. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
For example: Maybe like me, your kids can really stress you out with whining, never cleaning their room, or taking two hours of arguing to eat breakfast. Tiny humans are stressful. But taking a little time each day to focus on the fact that you would never want to be without them, and how much you adore their little voices and hugs can help you make it through those stressful moments.
Number three. Practicing gratitude and being positive actually makes you more positive over time. That’s right, I’m looking at you Debbie Downer. If you are finding yourself miserable and negative more often than not, it’s time to practice some mindfulness. Studies have proven that if you make an effort to think positive when a negative thought crosses your mind, over time you will naturally think more positively. You truly can retrain your brain with a little effort.
Right now, you could be thinking “Yeah, Bull****” BUT—Replace that thought with “Oh, sounds great!” See, you are doing it already.
I practiced this often when I was going through some miserable nonsense. When I began to feel anger or tears arise, I would often tell myself “I choose peace, I’m choosing to let this go”. It’s simple and effective.
On to four. Guess what my friends, when you take the time to be more positive and show gratitude on a more regular basis, you will feel happier in general. Mindfulness is amazing for enhancing mood. Many people just accept that their life is a constant state of unhappy and go about there business this way like it’s normal.
Umm it’s not so please stop.
It’s time to bring the joy back into living, you were not meant to spend each day longing to crawl back into bed. If sleeping is all you have to look forward to, it’s time to make some changes. Making changes in your life and attitude in order to reach happiness is the best gift you could give yourself this holiday season. As many have said, happiness is a state of mind.
On to five. You will become more patient. Feeling a little hot headed lately? We are all a little moody from time to time (guilty). However, you might want to take a step back if you realize you are snapping at your family for basically no reason, on the regular. Don’t make other people suffer because you are being an emotional terror, they don’t deserve it. Taking time each day to work on yourself is going to prove valuable for both your emotional well being, and for those around you. Becoming more patient is going to give you a more relaxed feeling about life in general.
For six, taking time to be thankful each day is fantastic for your over all mental health. You are going to lower your stress levels, become more patient, feel more positive, and just feel better in general. Improving your mood is linked to better sleep, higher levels of creativity and the ability to handle everyday tasks without becoming overwhelmed. Your mental health is so important, and in our society its importance is often overlooked. Take charge of your emotional well being and stop letting it take charge of you.
And seven. Your mental health has a direct relationship with your mental health. People who practice thankfulness and positive thinking are often healthier. Several peer reviewed studies suggest that people who express gratitude often have fewer physical symptoms, less pain, and more energy and vitality. These people are also much more likely to participate in activities that promote physical health such as exercise and regular routine doctor visits. So the moral here is take time to work on being less crabby and being more active.
What are you thankful for, every day?