Be more thankful everyday ~ and improve your life!
Have you ever noticed that for most people, the only day every year we formally say, or process mentally, what we are grateful/thankful for is Thanksgiving? We all sit around a fat turkey on the dining room table, surrounded by relatives we seldom see, some easy to like, others who teach us the definition of tolerance. It has now been two weeks since thanksgiving, ask yourself “Is Thanksgiving the only day I engage in this activity of identifying the things and people in my life I am thankful for?”
Did you know that being grateful has actually been proven to make you healthier?
– Thankful people live longer
In some studies people were found to live up to 10 years longer than their unhappy counterparts, and developed about 1/3rd the heart disease in their life. If thats not enough objective reasoning to be a little more grateful every day then how about subjectively just not being miserable… No one wants to feel that way day in and day out.
– 30 seconds a day can make you more grateful and happy
One assignment I like to give to people with clinical depression (far worse than just feeling a little down) is to identify just 5 little things they are grateful for shortly after waking up in the morning, and on their way to bed at night; writing it down tends to be better than thinking it or saying it out loud. I won’t go into the science of this too much here, but essentially negativity begets negativity, and positivity begets positivity. Putting mental energy into identifying the things you are thankful for forces you to think about those things. For the clinically depressed, this is an exercise of “fake it until you make it.”
Doing this can: bolster self esteem, increase moral behavior, improve caring for others, improve self image, provide a grounding tool to orient positivity, and improve social relationships.
Express your gratitude to someone for some small thing they did (or big if that is overdue) don’t hold anything back! Too often we are embarrassed to say what we really feel and are worried how it will be received when we want to give a genuine compliment or say thank you. You will be surprised, I promise! Here is the great thing about this action, you will probably make that person’s day, and in turn will probably feel pretty darn good about yourself in the process, knowing that you had a positive impact on someone else…
-My Thanks-Giving Story
I have a policy… I never ask anyone to do anything I am not willing to do myself, or have not done myself… Yesterday, while standing in line at the grocery store, I noticed that a young man with Down syndrome was bagging groceries at the end of my line. The same young man who a month or so earlier took it upon himself to come back from his break early to help an elderly woman carry her bags to her car and return her cart for her, a woman that he didn’t know. I know all this because I was witness to it while checking out myself that particular day. I stood in line yesterday wondering what to say, and how to say it, but wanted to let him know that his action didn’t go unnoticed that day a month earlier. My words were simple and to the point, I asked him if he remembered that day, told him what I saw, and said “I’m grateful for what you do to help other people, and thankful you live in my neighborhood, thank you.” I think he may have thought I was crazy, but the smile on his reddened face told me I could count the interaction as a win.
Be thankful, be grateful, and don’t hold back from expressing to yourself and others when you are.
Rory K. McLaughlin, CEO
For more information on the greater topic of happiness, I recommend reading some material by Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD., she primarily works out of Stanford University, and has literally written the book on human happiness. You can’t go very far on this topic without finding peer reviewed articles and research headed up by her and her team.