Health & Wellness Articles

The Power of Gratitude

4 Ways to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

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Here are some ways to start practicing gratitude to improve your well-being:
  1. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write down 3-5 things from the day you feel grateful for. Simplicity is key. Your baby’s smile, a perfect sunset, the train arriving on time, or your best friend’s laughter. Relish the feeling you get when remembering and writing it down.
  2. Express your gratitude. Take the time to share your feelings. Not the simple, polite thank you, but the heartfelt emotions. Tell your friend how her support and sense of humor helps you get through tough times, and how much it means to you. Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Let them know how much you love them and why.
  3. Look for what is right about a situation, not what’s wrong. Sure you’re frustrated by the bus being late, but thankfully you have an understanding boss. Service at the restaurant is poor, but you are lucky to afford an evening out surrounded by good friends.
  4. Practice gratitude with your family and friends. Although you may not say grace before a meal, encourage each family member to report one thing that happened that day that they feel grateful for. When you hear a friend moaning and complaining, challenge him or her to find the hidden opportunity or silver lining to the situation.
The other night, lying in bed reviewing all this information, I reminded myself that when I took the aforementioned Survey of Character Strengths, gratitude was one of my strongest characteristics. So I put that strength to use and began to count the day’s blessings. I remembered that although the email technology drove me crazy that day, it also allowed me to connect by text message. How lucky I am to live in a time where communication is so easy. And although things weren’t off to a good start, my daughter has a job despite a difficult economy. Sure enough the next morning, her supervisor called with apologies for the delay and off to work she went. I remembered that when I felt at my wits end, my best friend readily met me for coffee, made me laugh and reminded me that although frustrating, life is good!

For today, the warm breeze, my outdoor office, and the singing of the birds in the trees all fill my heart with gratitude and joy! What are you grateful for today?

Sources:
Ben-Shahar, Tal. 2007. Happier. New York: McGraw Hill

Emmons, R.A., and McCullough, M.E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84: 377-89.

Fredrickson, Barbara L. 2009 Positivity. New York: Crown Publishers

Lyubomirsky, Sonja. 2007. The How of Happiness. New York: Penguin Books

Seligman, Martin. 2002. Authentic Happiness. New York: Free Press
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • I really needed this today - I am a very grateful person and tell people that a lot. I just am not very good at being grateful for me and my strengths. I am very blest to have the same kind of job - in fact I am headed outdoors to the deck to begin my work assignment for today - my self-evaluation! My first step will be to do make a list of what I am most grateful about me! - 8/7/2014 10:49:49 AM
  • Agree on so many level. Renewing my journaling and search for what is right. Thanks for the reminder. - 3/26/2014 12:33:42 PM
  • I was really blessed reading this article and feeling guilty for complaining so much. These last 14 years have been a whirlwind for me, and I need to refocus my attitude to one of gratitude on a daily basis where I don't have to feel guilty. Praise GOD that HE never leaves us. - 3/1/2014 9:39:48 PM
  • Really needed this article today. Christmas traditions a bit different this year. - 12/25/2013 11:56:23 AM
  • Bible principles work! - 11/29/2013 7:16:28 AM
  • For years I have kept a BLESSING BOX - when a special blessing would come my way, I'd jot it down and deposit it there. On those times when I was feeling less than blessed, It always brought a smile to my face to pull out one of those blessings and relive it again. - 11/28/2013 1:20:31 PM
  • Every night I write in my gratitude journal just before turning out the light. I chose three things. One always is related to my body and the other two can be anything! It is a practice that helps me stay balanced. - 11/28/2013 5:32:11 AM
  • My life seemed to be crashing all around me today. I read this article and life took on a new look! There is so much to be thankful for - my mom, my 2 daughters and my favorite nephew! Thanks for the reminder! - 11/5/2013 9:52:08 PM
  • I have noticed this in life but didn't really put it to thought untill now !! My niece just yesterday was talking about how bad she feels. She went to the doctor and all they could find was a low potassium level. I began telling her how if she had a more positive attitude she would feel better. I explained she should take a walk everyday, gave thanks for the things around her, etc. She said she would. Let's keep our fingers crossed ! (This is not a new attitude for her she is this way most of the time ) - 9/12/2013 5:59:54 PM
  • I am so thankful for gratitude. Because if it wasn't for his grsce and mercy I don't know where I would be right now. So GRATITUDE is my best friend. - 6/23/2013 9:29:17 AM
  • My husband and I have a lot to be grateful for. We need to remember that. Something not so great happened the other day and I was not too upset. My husband on the other hand was freaking out. I reminded him that we have the means to take care of the problem and we need to be grateful for that instead of getting upset over it. - 5/15/2013 9:10:04 AM
  • Thank you so much! This came at just the right time! (something to be thankful for!) - 3/3/2013 1:40:02 AM
  • JGRAY76
    I am a huge believer in the power of gratitude and thinking positively. Always looking for what's right instead of what's wrong. My husband is the opposite and it drives me crazy. You choose how you feel and how you think. Choose wisely. - 2/23/2013 8:04:59 AM
  • JLARKIN9
    In ALL things give thanks for this is the will of God. I journal every day and have noticed that anytime I begin with complaints it always turns to blessings by the end of my entry. God is so good!!!
    - 2/2/2013 9:03:38 PM
  • I believe in the benefits of gratitude. I went through a rough period of time at my job. I found it very difficult to find anything positive and it was having an impact on my life outside work. My husband started emailing "blessing letters" to me at work which listed small and large blessings in our lives. These emails were heartfelt and touched me to "happy" tears many times. I soon began replying back to him listing blessings of my own. Eventually it became a daily ritual of ours. We have since moved on from that job and we have stopped doing this daily email, but I saved printed copies of each email. Perhaps now is the time for me to revisit them. - 1/25/2013 5:21:45 PM

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