When I started my recovery journey in 2006, it seems like everybody from my therapist to my mentors had one vitally essential tool in their toolbox that they highly suggested I take advantage of - a "Gratitude List." They suggested I use it even if and especially if I felt as though the world and the people within it were against me.
I took their suggestion, often times digging my heels in. At first it seemed as though there was no positive effect. However, as when we we are starting any new behaviors, the positive results are not always immediately noticeable. I will say that by the end of the first week of using the gratitude list, my attitude did begin to shift.
My suggestion is that you make a list of five things you are grateful for, even if it is the same five things. We can all find five things in oour life we are grateful for. Then, take one of those things you are grateful for and write out why you are grateful that one thing. I will guarantee that if you consistently practice this when you are feeling down, within a day or two you will start feeling uplifted and happy.
Showing gratitude towards others is another way I use to lift up my spirits. I always look for how I can complement or show my gratitude towards others, especially when I am having a not so good day. This has never failed to improve my attitude of maditude, especially when I see that persons face light up with appreciation. Showing gratitude is also a wonderful way to express appreciation and strengthen relationships.
Here are some ways you can show gratitude:
Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. It traditionally involves giving thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year. It's a time for families and friends to come together, often over a large meal, to express gratitude for what they have.
For many, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the things they are thankful for, spend quality time with loved ones, and enjoy traditional foods like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
Additionally, some people use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to engage in acts of charity and give back to their communities, helping those who may be less fortunate.
Overall, Thanksgiving holds different meanings for different individuals and families, but at its core, it's a holiday centered around gratitude, togetherness, and appreciation for the blessings in one's life.
Expressing gratitude is an important aspect of Thanksgiving. Here are five ways to express gratitude during the Thanksgiving celebration:
During this holiday season when things have the possibility of becoming stressful between yourself, your spouse, and family, practice these three things written by St. Francis:
"It is better to Comfort than be Comforted"
"It is better to Understand than to be Understood"
"It is better to Love than to be Loved
If you can practice these three principles, you will find that a peace will overcome whatever stress and difficulties may arise during the holidays.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and appreciative for the good things and positive experiences in one's life. It involves recognizing and acknowledging the kindness, generosity, and positive aspects of people, situations, and events, even in challenging or difficult circumstances.
Expressing gratitude can have various positive effects on mental and emotional well-being. It can lead to increased feelings of happiness, improved relationships, and a greater sense of contentment with life. Gratitude is often considered a fundamental aspect of positive psychology and is associated with improved overall health and resilience.
Practicing gratitude can take many forms, from simple acts like saying "thank you" to someone who has helped you, to keeping a gratitude journal where you write down things you're thankful for each day. It's about cultivating a mindset that actively seeks out and appreciates the positive aspects of life.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Gratitude is important for several reasons, and it has a positive impact on both our mental and physical well-being. Here are some of the key reasons why gratitude is important:
• Promotes Positive Emotions: Gratitude helps cultivate positive emotions like joy, love, and contentment. It shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have, which can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction.
• Improves Mental Health: Expressing gratitude has been linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety. It encourages a positive outlook and reduces toxic emotions like envy, resentment, and regret.
• Enhances Relationships: Showing appreciation fosters stronger relationships. When you express gratitude to someone, it communicates that you value and appreciate them. This can lead to improved social connections and deeper bonds.
• Increases Empathy and Compassion: Practicing gratitude encourages us to recognize the contributions of others in our lives. This can lead to increased empathy and compassion towards others, as we become more aware of their efforts and sacrifices.
• Reduces Stress and Enhances Resilience: Gratitude has been shown to reduce stress levels. It shifts our focus away from negative aspects of life and helps us to see the bigger picture. This can enhance our ability to cope with challenges and bounce back from adversity.
• Promotes Physical Health: Grateful individuals tend to engage in healthier behaviors like regular exercise and a balanced diet. Studies have also suggested that gratitude may have a positive effect on blood pressure, heart health, and the immune system.
• Enhances Sleep Quality: Cultivating gratitude has been associated with better sleep. Reflecting on positive aspects of the day before bedtime can calm the mind and improve sleep quality.
• Fosters a Positive Outlook on Life: Gratitude encourages a more optimistic and positive mindset. It helps us focus on what's going well rather than dwelling on what's going wrong, leading to an overall more positive outlook on life.
• Increases Self-Esteem: Recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of our lives can boost our self-esteem and self-worth. It reinforces a sense of accomplishment and value.
• Promotes Altruism and Prosocial Behavior: Grateful individuals are more likely to engage in acts of kindness and help others. This promotes a sense of community and social cohesion.
• Enhances Overall Well-Being: Overall, practicing gratitude contributes to a higher sense of well-being. It creates a positive feedback loop, where feeling grateful leads to more positive experiences.
Incorporating gratitude into your daily life can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal, expressing thanks to others, or taking a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of your day. It's a powerful practice that can lead to a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Remembering the following three principles set forth in the prayer of St. Francis, if applied, will defuse any stress and difficulties that may arise during this Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday
– “It is better to Comfort than to be Comforted”
– “It is better to Understand than to be Understood”
– “It is better to Love than to be Loved”
– St. Francis of Assisi
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Cathy and I have been happily married since 1983. However it has not been without our share of issues, yet we have persevered through all of them. We have three amazing kids that have grown into well respected and loved adults in their communities. We are the proud "Papo" & "Mami" of three beautiful granddaughters and 2 handsome grandsons. We enjoy spending quality time with our family. Randy enjoys cycling, working out, hunting, fishing, and playing the guitar. Cathy loves working in the garden, cooking, and camping. Together we love traveling. Although we have been blessed to visit several foreign countries, our favorite place to travel to is the beautiful island of Maui where we spend most of our time together laying on the beach enjoying the serenity of the Maui energy.