Gratitude

Being thankful and counting our blessings is not just for the month of November. Gratitude has health benefits we can have every day. According to Webster dictionary : Word Root of gratitude. The Latin word gratus, meaning“pleasing” or “thankful,” gives us the root grat. Words from the Latin gratus have something to do with being pleasing or being thankful. … Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness.

Depending on the context, gratitude can have different meaning from one person to the next. I generally think of gratitude as appreciation. Thankful for the things I find valuable or meaningful. Not necessarily monetary valuable, like the random person helping me load the car in the pouring rain the other day or my daughter selflessly loans me her car while mine in in the shop.

Did you know research supports an association between gratitude and an overall sense of well- being?

And this workplace study shows having gratitude towards the outside world and yourself has its benefits too.  Every employer should take notice this outcome. “Gratitude is a nutrient for one's health, and it contributes to a happier, healthier work environment. The benefits of gratitude go beyond a sense of self-worth, self-efficacy, and trust between employees. By practicing gratitude, we are celebrating what brings us joy, directs our actions, and influences our outcomes. One of the many benefits to expressing gratitude consistently and freely is that it fosters an environment where people experience a greater sense of purpose.” I personally have noticed the difference when working with those who appreciate others and the opportunity to serve.

Ok, so you get that practicing gratitude can increase work satisfaction and happiness in general. Let me tell a little about the health benefits,  it can strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, relax the body, increase energy levels, facilitate healthy sleep, foster better interpersonal relationships and become an integral part of an employee health and wellness program. In fact it can lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone, went when practicing gratitude. Grateful people — those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind — have an edge on the not-so-grateful when it comes to health, according to Emmons' research on gratitude. “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations,” Emmons tells WebMD.

Mindful Gratitude

The simple act of acknowledging things to be grateful for can influence our thoughts, action and mood. Keeping a journal. You may have read the numerous post from facebook friends who have taken a thirty day gratitude challenge. Studies show that keeping a gratitude journal actually lowers blood inflammation in heart patients!!

Putting pen to paper helps you focus, our brains tend to focus on the problems of the day and what went wrong in attempt to fix them. We are not avoiding the bad parts, set backs are a part of the overall journey and as you overcome the problems, rather we have a gratitude opportunity as we overcome adversity. Writing down what you are thankful for reinforces positive thoughts.

Be mindful about what you post on social media. Did you know there are thankful apps for your phone? In our plugged in society, it is impossible to avoid social media. Ever notice how one negative post has a way of rolling into ten different discussions or debates? Well… Research has shown that positive postings spread faster and shared more. Thankful people will post everyday images and ideas that trigger grateful thoughts. You can also look back on your own post like a public electronic gratefulness journal. Post positive today.

Know the value of the little things. Small acts of kindness do make a big difference. I love it when a friend gives me flowers “just because”. I am so thankful for the sunshine that charges not only me but my solar panels so I can stay up late reading.

Volunteer, everyone needs help sometimes. Volunteering gives you a great sense of thankfulness for the opportunity to help others.

Exercise daily is another habit among thankful people. Even the littlest daily activity has been proven to clear your mind. Gratitude walks! As I take my walks during the month of November I name something I’m thankful for starting with the letter A (Ashley) then B (bananas) C … you get the idea. When the kids were little I would try to get through the alphabet a couple times so they each had plenty of opportunities. Now they are grown I still incorporate this into my favorite month of the year.

Spend time with people that matter. Gratitude is a state of mind and an emotion fueled by things we appreciate most. Gratitude helps you connect with others and builds stronger relationships. Reach out to those around you, quick phone call, grab a meal, and take a walk. On my really busy days and rushing out of work, I would take that extra minute to be sure to walk out to the car with a friend, just to share a smile and a hug.