I have felt very much in the need of some focus on gratitude at the moment. I am so grateful to live in a country whose leader portrays compassion and supports the wellbeing of the people. When I see what is happening around the world it makes me incredibly sad so I felt it was time to remind myself and others just how much we have to be grateful for. I'm thankful that I have access to the internet so I can talk to my children who are scattered around the world and to be able to watch my wee granddaughter grow from afar. Being alive! Having a loving family, my wonderful favourite sisters, friends, good health, chocolate, books, immersing myself in the garden. And I have a great job with supportive colleagues. I am truly a lucky person and when things are going well it is so easy to feel gratitude.
It's when things are not going well that it is so much harder to find gratitude but so much more important to do so.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE?
Improvements in mood Robert A. Emmons is an American psychologist and professor at UC Davis. He did a study about gratitude. He gave journals to 300 people and asked the first 100 to keep a daily journal of things they were grateful for. The next 100 had to write a list of daily things that annoyed them and the last 100 had to just had to write down whatever popped in and out of their minds. The group that recorded daily gratitude had a much higher level of well- being. They also slept better and exercised more.
Improvements in well-being Those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic in their expectations for the upcoming week. They also displayed fewer physical complaints (such as joint pain and stiffness) Research has also shown that keeping a journal and recording gratitude can reduce depressive symptoms.
Develops relationships with others The same research has shown that grateful people are more likely to help someone with a personal problem and will offer emotional support. Expressing gratitude can strengthen a close relationship, as the receiver feels as though you care about them. Expressing gratitude can motivate people to behave in a way that benefits others and this increases their own feelings of social worth. Doing things for others is good for us!
Reduces impatience In the research, participants had either grateful, happy or neutral emotions induced. This was achieved by asking them to think of an event that made them feel grateful or happy. Those placed in the gratitude group showed more patience in comparison to those in the happy or neutral group. Gratitude not only increases patience but also encourages individuals to understand that being patient has favourable outcomes in the long term.
Increased satisfaction Students who were able to write down things they were grateful for s had more positive school experiences. This is a promising finding, as children who are satisfied with their school experience will enjoy school more, find it interesting and believe they are learning a lot. This could lead to greater success both academically and socially. It seems so simple!
Check out the study here
How can we Show Gratitude to People Who Love Us?
1. Let the people in your life know how they done something for you and how it made a difference in your life.
2. Do something little but thoughtful for them—like clean up after dinner!
3. Smile at people you come across throughout the day and greet them
4. Let them know that you are there if they have anything they want to talk about—and let them know they have your full attention.
5. Give them something of yours that you think they would enjoy, and let them know specifically why you want them to have it.
6. Invite them to do something you know they’ve always wanted to do.
7. While you must take care of you, it is important to also think of others first. Consider someone else’s feelings with every action and word.
8. Offer to do something you know they don’t enjoy doing, like weeding their garden or washing their windows
9. Compliment them on a talent, skill, or strength that you admire.
10. Look them straight in the eyes and say, “You make the world a better place.”
How can we show Gratitude to People Who Challenge Us?
1. Fully listen to what they have to say, instead of forming your answer in your head and waiting for your turn to speak.
2. Thank them for introducing you to a new way to look at things, even if you still don’t agree.
3. Pinpoint something you admire about their commitment to their beliefs—even if you don’t hold them, as well.
4. Resist the urge to tell them they’re wrong.
5. Challenge them right back to be the best they can be, with love and positive intentions.
6. If they inspired you to push outside your comfort zone, thank them for inspiring you to take a risk, and let them know how it paid off.
Show Gratitude to People Who Work with You
1. Write a hand-written thank you note, acknowledging things you value about them and their work.
2. Offer to lighten their workload in some way if you are able.
3. Bring back lunch for them if you know they’re working hard and likely haven’t had a chance to grab something.
4. If you’re running a meeting, keep it short to show them you appreciate and respect their time.
5. Ask them about their lives instead of always being all business. This doesn’t mean you need to pry into personal matters; it just means showing an interest in who they are as people.
6. Be the calm, light voice in a stressful situation.
8. Give them your full attention if they’re having a difficult day, and recognise if they need space to figure things out on their own, not advice or help.
9. Remember the little things make a big difference!
Show Gratitude for Yourself
1. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a manicure or a massage.
2. Make a list of ways you’ve impressed yourself lately.
3. If someone compliments you, thank them and let them know you’re proud of that skill, talent, or accomplishment.
4. Give yourself time to enjoy a passion you’re sometimes too busy to fit in.
5. Take an inventory of all the good things you’ve done for other people and the world.
6. Let go of any conditions you have for being kind to yourself—meaning you appreciate even if you didn’t accomplish or do anything specific.
7. Share the beauty that is you with the people around you, knowing they’re fortunate to have you in their lives.
8. Make a point of taking a judgemental thought and turning it into a compassionate thought- this will benefit you both.
And as always Books!
So much you can teach children and yourself through the power of a book with a great message. The Being Me Journal is a lovely wee resource containing 100 pages of activities, recipes, mantras, journal prompts as well as inspiring messages from well known New Zealanders including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Eliza McCartney and Sir Peter Jackson.
I remember the "It Could be Worse Book" from when I was a child. I tink it appealed to me as someone who came very a very chaotic household with no space for personal room!
Have a listen to Alie Ward on my favourite Podcast-Ologies
And these gorgeous wee video clips are bound to lift your mood.