An Attitude of Gratitude

We hear a lot about gratitude lately –it has become a new buzzword. But ideas, words, actions become hot topics for a reason, and if there has ever been a time when we need to focus on gratitude, it’s now as we slowly recover from the pandemic. Gratitude helps people shift their focus, enabling us to appreciate what we have rather than resenting what’s ‘missing.” It reduces our fears and builds our peace of mind, improving the quality of our lives.

Choosing to develop a gratitude mindset brings with it multiple benefits, including –

  • Improved physical health: It improves our sleep quality, which helps keep us healthier and less stressed. It also lowers our blood pressure, strengthens our immune system, augments our ability to cope with pain, and motivates us to get more exercise. In addition, studies show that when people express their gratitude consistently, they report less inflammation, fatigue, and anxiety. In fact, gratitude can change our brain structure, creating new neural pathways that help us recognize (and remember) our positive experiences.
  • Enhanced emotional health: Taking time to express gratitude increases our endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine levels. These increased levels heighten our sense of optimism and boost our happiness and self-esteem. It not only reduces stress and can prevent burnout but also fosters hope for our future –even amid challenging times. Furthermore, it creates stronger, more positive connections with others –friends and romantic relationships.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the gratitude talk is exceptionally prevalent, but may we suggest that cultivating gratitude all year long is worth your while. Here are tips to get you started:

  • Begin by making it a habit to say thanks –from the glass of water someone served you to your toddler helping to pick up his blocks to your co-worker staying late to help you finish a project. Don’t forget the smiling server at the drive-through window, your custodian at the Y, or the neighbor who shoveled the walks. Every day of our lives, people are doing something for us in some way. Recognize the cost of what they did and say thank you. Take time to send written thanks.
  • Pay it forward –Take time to give to others as someone has given to you. Pay acts of kindness forward.
  • Keep a gratitude journal –set aside time each day (even 15 minutes is good) and write down things you are grateful for. Look for and expect the beauty around you. From a baby’s smile to yellow daffodils to a much-needed raise, there are many situations and things in our lives to savor; writing them down makes a difference.
  • Share your gratefulness –From a smile and a wave to complimenting a job well done, when you take time to express your gratitude to others, it impacts both of your lives.
  • Be a good steward of the opportunities you receive and the gifts you have been given. Doing so places value on it and increases your sense of appreciation.

Bottom line: Gratitude is a choice, and those who choose it will reap the rewards. Meanwhile, happy ‘Giving of Thanks’ Day –and season –to all or clients, candidates, and colleagues. May your heart and habit of gratitude stay with you all year long.