Goodness Gracious! Increase Your Gratitude with These Four Ideas

Goodness Gracious! Increase Your Gratitude with These Four Ideas

Write it in your heart that every day is the best day of the year ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever wondered how people who seem to have so little can seem so grateful? How do parents of a terminally ill child or victims of violent crime still have a gracious heart? Do you have a gracious heart and an attitude of gratitude when you are having the WORST. DAY. EVER? We know it isn't easy, but science tells us that it's worth the effort to try to increase our gratitude skills.

Here are four strategies to help increase your gratitude:

  1. List three things: Write down three things that you are grateful for each day. A hot cup of coffee on a cool fall morning. The sound of your cat purring in your lap. Getting a hug from your kids at the end of a tough day. Your health. Little or big, if you can keep a list running, you will start to notice the things that we so often take for granted, and that is not only the basis of being grateful, it’s also mindfulness!
  2. Don’t Know What You’ve Got… Imagine your life without someone or something important to you. How would your life be different? Or, try to think of how your life would have turned out if you hadn’t taken that one job/gotten your college degree/adopted your current pet.
  3. Savor the Flavor. Did that Halloween candy taste better with the first mini-Snickers or the last? Try truly enjoying the flavors, smells, sights and sounds around you.
  4. Write a thank you note or letter. Has someone gone out of their way to help you lately? Or maybe you would just like to thank your mom, dad, grandparent or other important person for their support. Writing a thank you note is unexpected in these days of quick texts and emails. Both the sender and the recipient benefits from this task. Researchers showed the highest increases in gratitude when the note was hand-delivered, but if that isn’t possible just go ahead and mail it.

Gratitude is a skill that can be learned. And it's one that can help us experience more joy and have a deeper appreciation for the little things in life. And those things are both good for our health!

Originally published January 12, 2016