Give Thanks: The Life Giving Gift of Gratitude
“I promise if you keep searching for everything beautiful in this world, you will eventually become it.”-Tyler Kent White
With Thanksgiving this week, we can feel the benefits of slowing down and appreciating those we love and all of the gifts given to us in our life. However, we don’t have to just feel these happy feelings on a holiday. It’s so easy during this busy season to let the small, special moments pass you by and cause you to feel stressed and unhappy. By learning how to cultivate these good feelings into our everyday life, we can experience the life giving gift of gratitude everyday, instead of just on Thanksgiving.
The Life Giving Gift of Gratitude
It’s probably not news to you that expressing thanks to someone is a good thing to do; After all, we’re taught how to say thank you from the instant we speak our first word. However, many people underestimate the true power of gratitude when we learn to acknowledge the many life giving gifts that are available to us every day.Living your life with gratitude is about noticing the little things, and appreciating them whole heartedly, even in the busiest of times- like the sun coming out after a cloudy day, the smell of your coffee in the morning, or a stranger holding the door for you. By noticing each of these small, special moments, you’ll build up a bank of happiness and well-being that over time will strengthen your ability to notice and spread good. Gratitude is much deeper than being a giver or a receiver of gifts and compliments, it’s about an awareness of our world, how it flows, how it changes, and being grateful for our belonging in it. Also, as it turns out, gratitude encompasses all of the attributes that we think makes something “wholesome”:
It’s Good for You
Research has linked gratitude with a wide range of benefits, including strengthening your immune system, helping the heart, improving sleep patterns, feeling optimistic and experiencing more joy and pleasure, being more helpful and generous, feeling less lonely and isolated, and feeling less stressed.
Additionally, a new study conducted at Indiana University shows that it can boost your mental health. This study found that those who write letters of gratitude reported significantly better mental health four weeks and 12 weeks after their writing exercise ended.
It’s Good for Others
There’s scientific evidence that gratitude strengthens relationships. By feeling and expressing gratitude, it makes us feel closer and more committed to friends and romantic partners. When partners feel and express gratitude for each other, they each become more satisfied with their relationship.
You can tap into gratitude at any time, anywhere; all it takes is a little awareness. Also, not only is gratitude a sustainable individual practice, it can ripple outward into something much bigger than ourselves, promoting kindness and peace across communities. Maybe the next time you tell someone you appreciate them, they’ll do the same for someone else.
Ways to Practice Gratitude Every Day
- Recall 3-5 gifts and good things you enjoy every day. You can either write these down or just say them out loud.
- Express Gratitude to others. The next time your partner, friend, colleague or family member does something you appreciate, be sure to let them know.
- Pause & Appreciate the Present moment. There are so many things to be grateful for in the present moment when we become aware of them- the sun shining through our window,
- Remind yourself to practice. Give yourself visual reminders to practice gratitude, or simply write down a reminder and put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day.
Along with these ideas, cinematographer, Louie Schwartzberg, explores the happiness we can gain when we become aware of everyday wonders in this incredibly beautiful TED talk meditation that’s perfect as we go into the Thanksgiving holiday. From our BE family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful, peaceful and grateful Thanksgiving!