Say "Thank You" more often. Take the time and put in the effort to let people know when you appreciate something they have done, said, or provided. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a family member or a complete stranger, sharing your gratitude can really brighten someone else’s day. And knowing that you brightened someone else’s day tends to make you feel pretty great as well. With all the technology available now to help us communicate, it is easier than ever to send along a word of thanks. It is simple to share a quick “thank you” by text or email or through Facebook and other social media outlets.
Learn to recognize and appreciate the “little” things. Train yourself not to miss the small things that add quality to your life. All those less apparent things that are so easy to take for granted, overlook, and/or ignore. If you enjoy something, be thankful. If you benefit from something, be thankful. If you love something or someone, be thankful.
Enjoy your life and the people in it. Make a point of living and really experiencing each moment. Just trying to do so, can help you become more aware of… and grateful for… the positive aspects of your daily life that you might otherwise miss. Immerse yourself in the here and now. Whenever you are doing something, give it your full attention. Whenever you are with someone you care about, fully enjoy his or her company. Don’t wait until something is over… or someone is gone… to be thankful for what you had.
Set aside a specific time to be grateful. It might be in the morning before getting out of bed or perhaps at night before going to sleep. Or maybe both. But try to set aside a few moments every day to think about the good things in your life. Run through whatever happened that day or the day before, making a concentrated effort to identify and appreciate the occurrences and people that enriched your life in some way.
Avoid making comparisons. Try not to compare your life to someone else’s life. Looking at another person’s world with wishful eyes, makes it easy to overlook the reasons we have to be grateful in our own lives. There will always be people that seem to have it better than us, but there will always be people who have it worse as well. Nobody’s life is perfect or without problems. Very often, we know only about the good things in other people’s lives and never learn about the troubles or conflicts they may keep private.
Thanksgiving is a great reminder to be grateful. The day gives us a reason to stop, step back from the hustle and bustle of life, and reflect upon all the reasons we have to be thankful. Spreading that feeling of gratitude throughout the rest of the year can enrich our lives in many ways. Research suggests that making a conscious effort to be appreciative has tangible benefits. Studies have shown that feelings of gratitude can help improve physical health and mental wellbeing.
Making a conscious effort to be thankful and express gratitude on a more regular basis sounds like a fairly easy task, but it can take some work… especially for those of us who are not naturally prone to notice the “little things” in life. However, giving thanks is a skill that can be cultivated and a mindset that can be incorporated into daily living. Finding something to be grateful for each and every day can be turned into a positive habit.
Embracing the habit is about much more than acknowledging and appreciating the obvious, such as material or financial gains. It’s about concentrating on the less apparent things that get us through each day and keep us going when life gets tough. After all, it’s often those “little” things that help us survive the real challenges of life. There are days when something as basic as the smile of a child… a conversation with a friend… a lost item turning up … or even the warmth of the sun on our shoulders… can make all the difference.
Here are a few suggestions that can help turn giving-thanks into a habit.