Tis the season to focus on our gratitude. I always love taking turns at Thanksgiving to share what we are grateful for. While I usually say the same things, it’s a good reminder of all the blessings I have in my life and what really matters.
Sixty-eight days ago I was invited to join a gratitude texting group for 100 days, ending on December 31. I said yes immediately. There are eight of us in the group. I was worried it would be overwhelming receiving that many texts every day, but it hasn’t been a problem. I feel connected to others who are trying to live a more grateful life. And, when I am reminded to focus on what I’m thankful for it helps me to look for the small miracles in my life – like reading something that is exactly what I needed to learn or appreciating the heated seats in my car on a cold day. The texting group facilitator usually starts by stating what day we’re on and sharing what she is grateful for. Then the rest of us chime in. Although lately people have been so eager to share their gratitude for the day they jump in before the moderator does, which is fine.
Studies have shown that writing down what we are grateful five-minutes a day can increase our long-term well-being by more than 10 percent.1, 2, 3 An article by The Happier Human about gratitude enumerates 31 benefits to being a grateful person including higher self-esteem, a happier marriage, being more likeable, having better health, sleeping better, improved decision making and increased productivity. All that just for spending five minutes a day jotting down a few things we appreciate.
I have a gratitude journal but after a few months I fell off my regular schedule of writing in it. However, the texting gratitude group has filled the void. I love that each day I am prompted to reflect on what transpired and what I’m grateful for. Sometimes when I’ve had a challenging day it can be difficult to think of the good things in my life, but reading what others have shared helps me to see the gifts around me. And, there are always blessings even if it’s having a roof over my head or food to eat. We tend to take so many things for granted and forget how truly blessed we are.
Another way I like to express my gratitude is to handwrite thank you notes. I love writing these notes; whether it’s to thank someone or a company for doing the right thing, expressing appreciation to a friend for inviting us to a dinner party or sharing my appreciation for a gift or favor bestowed upon me. Writing the notes makes you feel happy and there’s nothing like discovering a handwritten note in the mail amidst the bills and junk mail.
Saying thank you is also a nice way to express your gratitude and make the other person feel appreciated. I offered to carpool to a conference and the two women I’m picking up both expressed how grateful they are for driving. It made me feel happy I decided to drive rather than try to find someone else to carpool with.
So, if you’d like a happier, healthier and more productive life, give gratitude a try. There are several resources out there to help you. Here are just a couple. Check out That Gratitude Guy who posts a gratitude message every day. http://www.thebrooker.com/ If you need ideas to help you set-up your gratitude practice read this post by Casa de Karma.
I’m grateful to you for reading this post. Now get out there and start thanking your lucky stars!!
- Positive Psychology Progress (2005, Seligman, M. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C.
- Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily LifeGratitude Uniquely Predicts
- Satisfaction with Life: Incremental Validity Above the Domains and Facets of the Five Factor Model
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