“Name three things that happened today that were good,” my mom said on far more occasions than I can remember. Growing up, it was often her response to a bad day or a teenage funk that showed up along the journey. I remember some days thinking there’s no way I couldn’t possibly come up with three things. But, I always did.
I didn’t realize her prompt would foster optimism along with a life-long habit of scanning the day for good. This year I decided I wanted to be more intentional about gratitude. Considering it’s impact, I uncovered five great facts about gratitude:
- Increased gratitude improves physical health. – In studies, grateful people have reported healthier habits such as exercising more and are reported to take better care of their health. Additionally, grateful people report fewer aches and pains.
- Gratitude increases psychological health. – A number of studies have found a link between increased gratitude and decreased depression. Additionally gratitude has been linked to increased happiness.
- It improves heart health. – An American Journal of Cardiology study in 1995 found a link between appreciation and heart rate. Positive emotions and gratefulness showed it was beneficial in treatment of hypertension.
- Being grateful can improve your energy levels. –Studies have linked increased gratitude with higher levels of stamina. Over time, being thankful can lead to increased energy.
- It’s Biblical – That’s right, it’s in the Bible! “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
Now that you know it’s good for you, how can you nurture a more grateful heart? It takes just a few minutes a day to foster increased thankfulness. Three things that you can do:
- Create a blessing jar – Find a small jar with a lid. Each day write the date and one to three things that you were thankful for that day on a piece of paper or small index card. Fold the paper and add it to the jar. The notes will make for fun reading next New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, or on a difficult day when you need a pick me up.
- Make a grateful calendar – On your phone, a pocket calendar or monthly wall calendar write one thing you are thankful for on each day / block on the calendar. This format allows you to be brief but to still track your gratefulness.
- Write thank you’s – Buy a pack of thank you cards. Each week write and send at least one thank you note to someone who has impacted you. Written thank you’s to other people allow you to multiply the impact of your gratefulness.
Why not join me in being intentional about increasing your gratitude. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual health improve with increased gratitude. It takes just minutes a day to positively impact your well-being. And, if you want to help others do the same, share this blog post. Who knows, maybe your family or friends will thank you for it!
How do you foster your gratitude? Are you going to try any new ideas? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.
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