I’m writing this blog post a few days before Thanksgiving 2022 and it has me thinking. It’s the same thing I wonder about every year at this time. Why don’t we focus on feeling grateful all year long?
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of daily life and forget to feel grateful. If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It happens to everyone, even those that are experts at having an attitude of gratitude. It just happens to them a lot less often.
What can you do when the holiday magic wears off to keep an attitude of gratitude? And, what benefits do you get from feeling grateful? Keep reading to find out.
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How to Keep Your Attitude of Gratitude
How can you keep feeling grateful after the holiday magic wears off? Here’s a list of ways to help you remember to take time out for gratitude:
- Start or end each day with a prayer or meditation focusing on what you are feeling grateful for that day.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal, like one of these.
- Get a Gratitude Tree and add a new leaf at least once a week.
- Use a Daily Gratitude Calendar to remind yourself of the date and what you’re thankful for.
- Keep a Gratitude Jar on a table or mantle and fill out a card every time you dust. There are so many cute ones to choose from!
- For those times when you’re feeling very ungrateful, draw an affirmation card and keep the affirmation in mind for the rest of the day.
- Another free option is to start a messaging group with some friends or family members where you share what you’re grateful for with each other.
What Feeling Grateful Does For You
Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to stay grateful all year, let’s talk about what you’ll get out of it if you do.
In her article in Psychology Today, Amy Morin provides scientifically proven benefits of feeling grateful. They are:
- It helps you make friends. A study published in 2014 found that thanking someone you just met made them more likely to want to continue the new relationship. If it has that kind of effect on people you just met, imagine the benefits of thanking co-workers, friends, and family.
- Increases empathy while decreasing aggression. This is according to a study by the University of Kentucky from 2012. If more of the homeowners and residents I used to work with in my former career managing HOAs had practiced feeling grateful, I might have lasted in that career instead of fleeing it to protect my sanity. Can you think of a group of people that you wish had more empathy and less aggression?
- Boosts self-esteem. Studies show that gratitude decreases social comparisons and increases self-esteem. Grateful people can appreciate other people’s successes instead of being resentful or envious.
- Makes you more resilient. A study conducted on veterans of the Vietnam War found that gratitude helps you recover from trauma and can reduce stress and PTSD. That was the most horrific war the US was involved in during my lifetime. If feeling grateful can help a Vietnam vet, it can help you.
- Better sleep. A 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being focused on the benefits of writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes before bed (there’s a reason I keep talking about these). Those that did so slept deeper and longer. Who doesn’t want that?
- It makes you healthier, physically and mentally. A 2012 study found that people that focus on feeling grateful have fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier overall. They also naturally take better care of themselves. Robert Emmons has done several studies that prove that gratitude decreases depression and increases happiness.
Now You Know How and Why to Stay Grateful
The only thing left is to put it into practice! Take a minute to plan a gratitude practice that works for you, and then put it into action. Tag @basicbfindsbalance on Instagram or Facebook in a post showing off your gratitude practice and be featured in my stories!
P.S. – The holidays are here! If you need some help staying balanced while making holiday magic happen, this blog post is for you!