“A Grateful Heart”
So here we are again the start of another holiday season. It will be Thanksgiving in just a few weeks. It always amazes me how quickly time goes by and we are celebrating the holidays. It seems only natural to talk about gratitude this time of year. So, what is gratitude you may ask? It has been defined as, “the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Robert Emmons, a world leading expert on gratitude describes it as, “an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. We recognize the sources of our goodness is outside ourselves: meaning other people or a higher power gave us gifts to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
I like the way he describes it as goodness. It is so true and simple. Because most of us when we express gratitude we feel good about the action and reaction to whom is the recipient of it, even if it us. What I mean by this is when we are saying or writing down things that we are grateful for in our lives we feel good about these things. It provides a sense of calm, happiness and empowerment. For some of us the daily action of expressing gratitude allows us to move forward with our day especially when we are not feeling so good about our life that day.
The question sometimes will arise; “Why practice gratitude?” It is quite simple it brings happiness. It creates a feeling of optimism. It has been linked to reducing anxiety and depression. It can strengthen relationships we have with others by making us feel closer and more committed to our friends, family and significant others. When we feel and express gratitude to others we tend to become more satisfied with our relationships.
Gratitude has often been said to be a choice we make. It is an attitude of or a state of being that some consider to be essential in living a full life or a well-lived life. If you are wondering how do I express gratitude? One of the most common things people do is to write a gratitude list every day. Some people will write five things every morning when they start their day so that they feel more grounded, hopeful and positive for the day. Others will write at the end of the day so they can detach from their long day and realize that there are things to be grateful for even if you had a bad day.
You can show gratitude towards others by saying the simple words of “thank you” with a smile of true appreciation for what they have done for you or said to you. Like when someone compliments you most people do not always say thank you because they do not feel worthy of the compliment; however even if you don’t necessarily trust the compliment saying thank you is an acknowledgement and validation to yourself that you are deserving; thus, will feel gratitude.
Even if we are consciously thinking about the things we are grateful for it will lift our spirits. For instance, I am grateful for my family, friends and home. I am grateful for who I am and what I have to offer to others. I am grateful for all the lessons good or bad that I am learning and have learned. I am grateful for my ability to be empathetic and caring. I am grateful for the confidence I have to write every month in the newspaper. Gratitude can cover many topics. It truly can help us get out of a negative space in our head. If we are so focused on all the “bad” things that are happening to us or we believe are happening to us than we can’t see all the good that is in us or around us. Which is why gratitude can save us and our soul and provide a profound sense and feeling of “goodness”. So, do your best to appreciate your life and all that it has to offer. “Be grateful my friends!!” only good can come from it and your heart will be full.