Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – it reminds me of how often I witness the power of gratitude in people’s lives. I am a big believer that you find what you seek. If you are always looking for problems, you will find problems. Not that it isn’t important to anticipate, identify, and address solvable problems. Rather, identifying what is working well and what we are thankful for enhances our well-being.
Martin Seligman’s book “Flourish” shares research that found that even practicing identifying three things you are grateful for each day for one week (to include reflecting on why each event occurred) can boost feelings of happiness and well-being for at least a month. The events do not need to be monumental in nature. Our family tried this exercise together at the dinner table each night, and it really helped us break out of a negativity slump. I know many people who keep a gratitude journal – where they write about at least one thing they are thankful for each day before going to bed. I personally practice this during the more stressful periods in my life, and it makes a huge difference in my mood and outlook. Another way to express gratitude is to personally thank someone for something specific they have done for you that made a difference, either recently or in the more distant past. What a wonderful gift to give and receive!
How do you deliberately express gratitude in your daily life? If this is not something you have really done before, how might you start?