Giving Thanks

“There are increasing indications that feeling grateful can have a powerfully positive effect on our lives, health, psychological and emotional well-being. Kids who experience more gratitude do better in school, set higher goals for themselves, derive more satisfaction from life, friends, family, and school, and are less materialistic and have more desire to give back.”  Samantha Smithstein, Psy.D., Psychology Today

Research by Jeffrey J. Froh, an assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., has found that adults who focus on what they are thankful for are more optimistic; report less depression and fewer physical complaints, and sleep better.

Daily Gratitude writing can be challenging—I know.  Here are some tricks of the trade to keep your efforts consistent:

  1. It starts with a Gratitude Journal. You can use anything, of course—an old half-empty notebook works fine, but it motivates me to use a gratitude journal, which you can purchase at any bookstore, many gift stores or even drugstores. It’s good to see that thankfulness is catching on. But even with a fancy, leather-bound, expensive book of blank pages, I was still having a problem with consistency.
  2. It helped me to find accountability partners. I began each day emailing or texting three gratitude statements to my daughters and their significant others. The side benefit was that they would email me back with three things they were grateful for that morning. If you live any distance from your grown children, sharing what you are all grateful for each day helps to keep you close as a family. Of course, your accountability partner could be a friend or colleague. Be sure to choose someone who is not overly judgmental and who will share their gratitude statements.
  3. Pay a gratitude visit or write a letter to someone who has helped you in the past.
  4. As you go through your day, notice when something occurs for which you are grateful. Write or say out loud how grateful you are. If another person is involved, tell them immediately how much you appreciate their contribution to your life.
  5. While reinforcing the positive, remember to notice when your mind is drifting into negative thinking. Then stop! Silva Mind Control used to teach people to use a trigger phrase like “Cancel, cancel,” prompting the mind to release the negative thought. Then take a moment to focus on the positive. Give thanks.

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