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Updated: Feb 11, 2022

At a time when there are millions celebrating thanksgiving across the world I’m wondering what are you thankful for?

Being thankful creating an attitude of gratitude is one of the most reliable methods for increasing contentment and life satisfaction. It also improves mood by enhancing feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions. Conversely, gratitude also reduces anxiety and depression.

Sounds like something we could all do with more of at this time.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.

Research on gratitude

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

If you want to develop an attitude of gratitude, here are a few ways to cultivate gratefulness and be more grateful in your life:

Develop the habit of saying “thank you” for everything others give or do for you. Your “thank you” is probably the most beautiful phrase that someone could hear today so be generous in giving that out. Make it a habit to sincerely thank (with a smile) everyone who does something for you—the waiter who serves you, the cab driver who drives you home.

Send a simple appreciation card or gift as a token of your gratitude. Showing gratitude needs not to be expensive. For example, posting a sticky note with a short thank you letter on your colleague’s computer monitor could be a heart-warming surprise for her. Or if you have the extra money, you could buy her a coffee or a chocolate bar.

Know that the generosity or help that you receive from others have costs. One of the ways to implant gratitude in your heart is by realizing that it costs anyone to help, serve, or give to you—even the simple things.

Instill in your mind that, despite what’s happening in the world today, there are so many reasons to celebrate life. There may be some difficulties, but for sure, there are more blessings and positive things that you see each day. Count your blessings, especially the loved ones who continue to support you.

Understand that not all people receive the same opportunities you get. Be thankful for the opportunities that you have received or will receive because some people could only wish for them.

Put yourself in the shoes of those who do not get thanked for their effort to help. What would you feel if you sacrificed time, money, or effort just to help someone and you did not get a single “thank you” for it? It would make you feel taken for granted if your effort is not appreciated, especially if it cost you much. It is not about the recognition—it is about being valued.

Be a good steward of the things or opportunities you receive. Gratitude can also be shown by taking good care of what has been given to you. It shows that you truly value it.

Pay the favour forward. One beautiful way to show gratitude is to pay forward. Meaning, instead of paying back those who have blessed you (well, it is also beautiful to bless them back), you do to someone else whatever good thing that was done to you.

Approach people not only when you need something from them to show sincere care. It feels bad if you are only remembered by people when they need something from you, right? The best thing you can do for the people who care about you is constantly showing your care for them too. Message or visit them whenever you can.

Find the chance to give back. When time and resources permit, show your gratitude by blessing back those who have helped you. This is not paying back since you can never repay the kindness, but only a way of showing appreciation and care. Being available to them whenever they need help is one way of giving back.

Live a life with an attitude of gratitude

Being grateful for everything you have will lead to contentment, which will result in peace and joy. This will also help you keep a positive outlook in life, which is necessary for you to be strong in times of troubles.

Moreover, gratitude can open your eyes to how blessed you are for having loved ones who always got your back. In case you have overlooked this in the past, this time make more effort to show that you value them and you appreciate everything they do for you.

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