As May is coming to a close and we’re making headway into June I started to reflect of this past month. So much has happened; we celebrated our mothers for Mother’s Day, honored our deceased veterans for their service, as well as celebrated our graduates on their accomplishments. Now, looking forward we’ll soon be preparing to honor our fathers for Father’s day. In all of these things we have so much to be thankful for, to be grateful for. Whether these special people in our lives are living or dead, the footprints etched in love that they have left on our hearts lingers with us and I can’t help but be grateful for these precious memories. The sentiment of my heart right now is gratitude. I can remember the amazing quality time that I’ve spent with my mother over the years and I felt so blessed to be able to honor her this past Mother’s day. For this memory and all others that are embedded deep inside of me, I am grateful.
Sometimes we may find it hard to be grateful, especially when it seems that life is beating us up. I am here to tell you that in the midst of your darkest moments is when you need to exercise gratitude the most. Exercising gratitude will shed light on any situation by shifting your focus and giving you a better outlook. The rewards of expressing gratitude are immeasurable. Gratitude improves your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and gives you refreshing sleep. It also helps you psychologically by increasing your levels of positive emotions, lightens your mood so that you’ll be happier, and it helps you to be optimistic. Not only does gratitude improve you physically and psychologically, it also improves your social life. You will become more helpful and compassionate, exercise forgiveness more, be more open to socializing, and feel less lonely.
In a simple form, gratitude is just recognizing and acknowledging goodness. If we make a conscience decision to look for and focus on the goodness that is around us and then make the choice to be thankful for that goodness that we see. Wherever we can, and whenever we can, we should be thankful. Every day we are given small gifts, from the simple things (being alive, being able to use our limbs, open our eyes, breathe on our own) to the big things that we have the opportunity to be thankful for.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you on your gratitude journey
1. Start a gratitude journal – Everyday write at least 3 things for which you are grateful.
2. For a brief moment, reflect on the bad in your life – Look at the bad in your past and look at where you are now. You’ll quickly become appreciative of your current state. Also look at those bad situation and look for the things that you’ve learned and gained as a result of them.
3. Watch what you say – Be mindful of what you say and eliminate negativity from your dialogue. Make a conscience choice to be positive in every aspect of your life.
4. Exchange complaints for gratefulness – Instead of complaining about situations or people, look for reasons to be grateful. Even if a person is really irritating you, ask yourself how have they aided you in the past. Look for a reason to be grateful for them.
5. Instead of focusing on your lack (what you don’t have), focus on what you do have – This act of reassessing your situation and your thought process will definitely help increase your level of gratitude.
As we delve into the summer and head towards Father’s day and sunny days, let us remember to be grateful for all of the things that we have.