By Daneen James
What makes gratitude such a big deal?
Take a minute, think about what happened today or this week that made you smile. Nothing is too small. Someone held the door for you, you found a great parking space, finished a project right on time or got an encouraging text/email when needed most. Now, be honest, don't you feel better? That's the benefit of gratitude. Appreciation generates joy and renews your perspective. Regularly recognizing the good in your life, big and small, improves your health, increases productivity and creates better relationships.
Gratitude creates an energy people can't resist.
Think about the people you most enjoy spending time with. What attracts you to them? They're probably encouraging and raise your energy level instead of depleting it. When you look for the best in others, they feel it and can’t help but want to be around you! Praising team members, encouraging colleagues and affirming clients foster thriving professional relationships. Genuinely celebrating the contributions of others promotes creativity and empowers people to make better decisions and feel better about who they are. Our personal and intimate relationships thrive when those closest to us feel valued. Write a letter or leave a note to share with your spouse, family or friends, why they're special to you, notice their response.
From the inside out
You'll be hard pressed to find an area of life that isn't improved by gratitude. Our physical body is no exception. Lower blood pressure, better quality sleep, decreased incidence of depression and addiction are but a few of the health benefits linked to grateful living. As I was driving the other day, I noticed a sign that read "gratitude turns what you have into enough." Gratitude prevents you from being so focused on the next, that you neglect the now. Being grateful doesn't mean you want less. It just means that you don't allow what you want, to blind you to what you have. Appreciating what you have instead of fixating on what you believe is missing, increases spiritual awareness. You feel better about yourself and your life, so you're less inclined toward jealousy and envy. The net result is an overall sense of contentment and well being that helps you better enjoy life.
What do you have to lose?
The next time you find yourself being critical or feeling irritable, find a reason to be grateful. Take a few minutes each day to highlight the good in your life; phrases like: I'm grateful for, I appreciate, so glad that, can help get you started. Notice how it changes the way you feel. Make a practice of grateful living and see how it changes your life!
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