In a recent article written by Melinda Beck in The Wall Street Journal, she shared: “A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being. Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.”
Within the article is a test that readers can take that measure the degree of their gratitude. I scored 42 out of 42 points. It indicated that people who score in the 40-42 range, see life as a gift and that for them, gratitude is a way of life. I do and it is. Hard to imagine feeling any other way. Perhaps it has something to do with my upbringing. In my family, we were taught that awareness and expression of gratitude were natural outcomes of healthy interactions between people, regardless of age. Never did I feel less than because I was a child. My parents thanked my sister and me and each other in our presence. Thank you notes were sent following birthdays. Appreciation for the blessings in our lives was as natural as breathing. Besides, it just plain feels good to immerse myself in thankful mode. I sometimes think of it as being thank-full to overflowing, just as a stream can overflow its bank, so too can we let our appreciation water and nourish the grass around us, as we grow our relationships.
I love ritual and engage in it throughout my day. When I awaken, I give thanks for the day, brimming with opportunity to create anew. Over the next 12 hours, especially if I am feeling anything but grateful, I pause and consider what it is I appreciate about my life circumstances, even as I may be hardpressed to find something to like about the current situation. When I do that, it feels as if a huge boulder has been lifted. Before I drift off into dream land, I take stock of my day and count my gifts and treasures. I also periodically create an ‘attytood of gratitude list’ and listen to songs that express thanksgiving, singing along with gusto. As a result, I find that I am consistently healthier and happier than many people I have encountered. Since like attracts like, I am discovering lately that the folks with whom I cross paths are indeed more pleasant to be around.
I invite you to take time and create a list of 10 things for which you can be grateful. It could be as simple as being able to open your eyes and see the sun streaming into your home. Create a gratiude vision board with pictures and words that evoke a sense of serenity and appreciation. Tell the people in your life that you are grateful for their presence, even those (especially those) who push your buttons. AND it is important to thank the woman or man in the mirror for sticking with you all these years.