Gratitude is the best medicine

November is the month of giving thanks. And giving thanks requires action.

What if we worked to create a culture of gratitude in our homes and offices? What would that look like? Let’s start with a gratitude definition that I came across recently that helps zero-in on what gratitude is and what it can do for us.

Gratitude is observation. It’s paying close attention. It’s noticing the things that are already here and pausing long enough to see them and think, look at this – isn’t it good? Gratitude is a way of shining a light on things; it’s a way of seeing deeply, and of letting that seeing ripen into appreciation. When we move through the world with gratefulness, when we notice the good things, suddenly good things are everywhere, and the details and the people and the moments of each day transform. They go from being the things we expect to being something exceptional.

Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps us feel positive, appreciate wonderful moments, improve our physical and mental health, helps us manage challenges, and builds solid and connected relationships. There are so many ways that we can express gratitude:

  • A simple thank you, for a simple task
  • A handwritten note of thanks and appreciation
  • A smile and hello
  • A pat on the back – physically or a shout out
  • Acknowledgement or celebration in front of others

It’s so easy to show appreciation with a simple thank you.

We should not take others or their actions for granted. Being thankful for your mate for taking out the garbage, for your coworker for making another pot of coffee, your child for getting their homework done. These expected daily tasks should be celebrated and appreciated. It builds trust, connection, and engagement. Simply said, it will lift their day right along with yours.

For many, the holidays can be filled with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Those with severe anxiety disorders hopefully seek and find assistance with professional help. But sometimes we’re just feeling a little disconnected, sad, or anxious. Research and common sense tell us that being thankful can actually lift our spirits. When we focus on the positive things in our lives instead of what is lacking, we can bring clarity and joy to our lives.

So, who doesn’t want more gratitude in life! Here are some simple ideas on how to show it:

  • Tell three people why you are grateful for them and why they matter in your life
  • Randomly place post-it notes around your work (or home) space expressing gratitude for those on your team
  • Try to find the good in someone you don’t like
  • Be grateful for yourself! Do something nice for you today
  • Create a Thankful Jar – and fill it up
  • Surprise someone with a thoughtful, and inexpensive (or handmade) gift
  • Create your own list of reasons to be grateful, post it in a prominent place to remind yourself that there is always something to be grateful for – or start a gratitude journal
  • Give someone your vote of confidence
  • In a group, draw names and write a note of gratitude; leave the note in a place to be found by the person you intended
  • Tape gratitude notes to candy bars and hand them out
  • Call a friend and tell them why you are grateful for them
  • Make an effort to use grateful and kind words in all your interactions today

Thank you for taking time to read this blog and I hope it inspires you to find more ways to show, share, and practice gratitude! What are you shining a light on today?

Brenda-Final1

Brenda Peterson, President/CEO
The Wendt Agency

References: randomactsofkindnessfoundation.org, and Grateful, Compendium Live Inspired, M.H.Clark