I can’t believe it’s already November. Oh, how time flies when life is crazy, busy, overwhelming, enjoyable, and beautiful all at the same time. November also marks the month where many celebrate Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays because it has the ability to shift the mindsets of many to focus on the good, the positive, and the beautiful things in life. Imagine what would happen if Thanksgiving was more than just a day. What if it was more than a season? What if it was a way of life?
Gratitude is a three-part post I have created for this month where we will take a journey together to better understand the following:
- What is gratitude?
- Benefits of gratitude…
- How can you practice gratitude?
We have been given the beautiful opportunity to wake up with breath in our lungs, so why not use those precious moments focusing our energy on the beautiful things in life. Being thankful and expressing gratitude has become such a powerful aspect of my life. I can’t wait to jumpstart the “Thanksgiving season” by having you all read this three-part series.
Before I share part one, I want to leave you with a question:
How often do you show gratitude?
Part One: What is gratitude?
When someone approaches me and asks me to name things, I am grateful for, I have no issue spewing out a list.
- I’m grateful for my family and friends.
- I’m grateful for the opportunity to further my education.
- I’m grateful for the ability to seek readily available medical attention when necessary.
- I’m grateful for my health.
- I’m grateful for the ability to write.
Even in the event where they ask me to elaborate and answer the question of why I am grateful, I once again have no issue.
- I’m grateful for my family and friends because they are my biggest support system who constantly shower me with love.
- I’m grateful for the opportunity to further my education because the ability to continually learn allows me to continuously expand my knowledge.
- I’m grateful for the ability to seek readily available medical attention when necessary because there are many who are unable to seek such assistance.
- I’m grateful for my health because they are many who are struggling with sickness on a daily basis.
- I’m grateful for the ability to write because it is my creative outlet, therapeutic go-to, and allows me to share love and light with the world.
Alright, so maybe it’s easy to list things off you are grateful for but what exactly is gratitude?
Gratitude is essentially a positive emotion that is evoked when an individual receives, acknowledges, and shows appreciation for both the tangible and intangible things in their life.
Part Two: Benefits of gratitude…
The benefits of gratitude are seemingly endless. Practicing gratitude provides benefits across an array of areas in life.
After a great deal of research, I narrowed it down to the top 7 benefits:
- Increased energy: we spend less time focusing on the negative and it, in turn, provides more energy to focus on the good.
- Better health: Surprisingly enough grateful people are more likely to take care of their health.
- Reduced stress: When you focus your energy on the right things your body is able to activate relaxation.
- Better sleep: I personally spend 10-15 minutes before bad completing a gratitude journal and this form of relaxation helps me fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Increased happiness: Gratitude makes us feel more gratitude. Gratitude essentially triggers positive feedback loops that boost our happiness levels.
- Reduce materialism: Society has become focused on collecting things rather than experiences and memories. This reduction allows for more time to spend with friends, family, and pursuing your hobbies rather than chasing powers and pursuit.
- Promotes optimism: gratitude ultimately helps us develop a more positive outlook on life.
So how do you obtain these benefits? Begin by practicing gratitude.
Part Three: How can you practice gratitude?
It can be so easy to get caught up in the fast lane and forget to take a moment and show appreciation for all you have. Whether you express gratitude often or need to express it more begin with these small steps.
- Appreciate everything. It all starts with appreciating every little thing in life. There is nothing too small to be grateful for.
- Find gratitude in all challenges. These are the experiences which often help you realize what you have to be grateful for.
- Practice mindfulness. If you take moments each day and dedicate it to focusing on what you have to be grateful for it will become a habit you unknowingly practice.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
So, with all of this being said let’s all begin this season of Thanksgiving with the right mindset and develop habits to continue the practice of gratitude long after this 2018 season passes us by.