If there was a drug with no negative side effects that helped you eat healthier, exercise more, experience less depression, and sleep better, how long would it last in the pharmacy? We would flock to doctors for prescriptions. The pharmaceutical company would have a hit.
It may not be a drug, but gratitude may be as important to your health as nutrition. Let’s look at some of the benefits. People described as thankful tend to:
- Eat healthier
- Develop stronger immune systems
- Experience more energy
- Demonstrate optimism and mental acuity
- Cope with stress better
- Describe life with high satisfaction
- Exercise regularly
- Solve difficult mental challenges easier
- Have deeper friendships
- Sleep better
- Have increased self-worth and self-esteem
- Show increased productivity
- Enjoy work and perform better on the job
Successful people practice gratitude. After all, I don’t see how you can be called successful if you aren’t happy and thankful for all life has to offer.
Here are five ways to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”:
1. Write it down.
Keep a gratitude journal. Try it for 30 days. Be specific about what you are thankful for. Watch how your thoughts develop over time. You may start out simply, but when you add stories and color, it becomes more powerful.
2. Talk about it.
Sharing what you are thankful for isn’t just for Thanksgiving. Make it a habit to talk about what you are grateful for all year long. It will reinforce your feelings.
Whether you regularly meditate or not, take a break a few times a day. Focus on a spirit of thankfulness. Who are you thankful for? Bring the person to mind. Imagine your life surrounded with blessings.
4. Express it.
Find that teacher who made a difference in your life, and tell him. Write a personal note and tell a long lost friend what she meant to you.
5. Seek it.
If you want to be thankful, get around people with that characteristic. Some people just bubble over with enthusiasm and gratitude for life. I once met an elderly lady who was exuberant about life. She was in a nursing home and could have complained for hours. Instead, she welcomed me into her room and started telling me about the birds outside her window. She was thankful for their company, for their song in the morning, and for their vibrant colors. As I listened to her, I realized that I wanted that special spark.