1.) It is important to express gratitude, even if it is hard. Sometimes life is so challenging that even the thought of being grateful puts us in a tailspin. When we focus on our losses and failures, feeling melancholy or alone, we are blinded to finding even little things for which to be grateful.
3.) The more specific we are in the details when writing our gratitude, the more powerful the results will be. For example, the stranger at the airport who saw you running with two carry-ons and simply offered to take them for you all the way across the concourse where you made the last call for your flight (and don’t forget the pilot, the flight attendants, and the security people who all contributed to getting you to your destination safely.)
Gratitude is related to a 10 percent improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain, 76 percent of whom had insomnia, and 19 percent lower depression levels.
- Two gratitude activities (counting blessings and gratitude letter writing) reduced the risk of depression in at-risk patients by 41 percent over a six month period.
7.) Gratitude is not solely directed outward. It is important to focus gratitude inward and appreciate yourself. In your journal, take note of everything you are and all that you do. Acknowledge yourself, for example, for learning not to beat yourself up after making a mistake. Check in on the progress you’ve made. How far have you come since last Thanksgiving, or since last summer?
8.) Make a list of the people who have supported you in your life. Again, be specific; mention the ways in which those individuals have contributed to your progress and well-being. Be sure to include the neighbor who went out of her way to deliver a misdirected package, the customer service representative who circumvented several extra steps to resolve your cell phone issue, the farmers who provide you with delicious produce.
9.) Take the extra time to complete that survey at the end of a call when you have received excellent service, and, if you have noted it, mention the representative by name. Go out of your way to speak to a supervisor or a manager about an employee who has gone the extra mile to help you.
10.) Acknowledge everything you receive, notice simple pleasures, be thankful. Begin seeing that everything in your life is a miracle, worthy of your ultimate gratitude.
I am grateful for all of you who have read my blog over the past 11 years. You gave me an audience to write for.
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided the above author credit is included.