Gratitude is an important part of life. It can help us find common ground with others, as well as make us feel good about ourselves and life in general. A little bit of gratitude will help you make the most out of your life and relationships with self and others.
What does it mean to be grateful?
Gratitude is a state of appreciation and joy. When you feel grateful, you are more likely to be happy and have positive feelings about the world around you. Gratitude can be expressed in many ways: by saying thank you, by doing something for someone else, or even by simply relaxing into your body after a hard day’s work.
Gratitude is an energy that magnetizes more of what is valued in our lives—good health, love and friendship, meaningful work or play; it helps us appreciate the beauty of nature and the goodness of others.
When we express gratitude to ourselves we can find greater ease in our bodies, hearts and minds; it is like taking time out from life itself to celebrate what has come before us so far!
- Reconciling differences. It’s a time when people are most likely to speak up about what they don’t like or agree with, but that doesn’t make it an easy or comfortable experience for everyone involved. We’re all so different! The most effective way forward is through real listening and an open mind, which means being grateful for the differences you have with other people while also being grateful for the ways they’ve shaped your own identity. Think of it as a kind of healthy debate: if you take a moment before speaking, consider what someone else might be feeling or thinking even if their views differ from yours—then allow yourself some grace when others do the same in return (or don’t).
Defining your values.
Thanksgiving to me is much more than a celebration of the beginning of the country. Today it has nothing to do with that at all. It has become a time to gather with friends and family and appreciate the good things that have come into my life. But what are you thankful for? How do you know what is important to you versus what was conditioned into your brain by society?
Let’s start with values. What does it mean for something to be a value, anyway? Values are the principles that guide our behavior and shape our decisions, so they can be pretty important. Your values may include things like honesty or integrity, compassion, freedom, family, or gratitude. So how do we know if our choices are guided by these values or not? The first step is defining what those values mean in your own mind—and then being able to recognize them when they appear in real life!
For example: Do kindness and generosity come easily or do they feel forced on some days? Are there certain circumstances where generosity seems impossible (like if someone asks me for money) but other times I can extend my natural inclination toward generosity without even thinking about it (like when someone needs help moving heavy furniture)? Do I try hard at all times not only because it’s just what one does but because there might be an opportunity later on when helping another person will benefit ME as well??
Honor your values and look for common ground with those around you.
Many of us have been taught that it’s important to honor our values and beliefs. This is a good practice, but what about honoring the values of others? Acknowledging that people have different belief systems can help you find common ground with them and ultimately strengthen your relationships.
As an example, if you believe strongly in environmentalism, but your partner or coworker has no concern for the environment, it might be tempting to argue with them about this issue over and over again. Instead, consider how you can make an effort to understand their point-of-view while still being true to yourself. Perhaps they grew up in a family where they were taught not be wasteful (even though they may not feel strongly about it themselves). If so, maybe try making changes together that are less extreme than those you would make alone—such as reducing energy usage at home or bringing reusable bags when shopping for groceries. You might also try discussing ways to reduce waste that would appeal both parties more than just one of them doing something on their own (such as composting).
What you receive when you give thanks.
Giving thanks is a way of giving value to what you already have (or want to have).
It’s about saying something like “thank you for my house,” “thank you for my job,” or “thank you for my family.” It can be a simple ritual that helps us focus on our blessings and remember all the good things in our lives. In this way, gratitude is an essential aspect of living a happy life.
However, it also has other benefits—the act of giving thanks has been scientifically proven to make the giver happier and healthier! The practice of gratitude has been shown to reduce anxiety as well as improve sleep quality by helping regulate stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in your body. Giving thanks also improves your mental health by increasing levels of dopamine which boosts feelings of happiness and lowers feelings of depression and anxiety over time; thus making it easier for people who struggle with poor mental health (as we all do from time to time) understand their circumstances more fully to better manage their emotions and choices.
There is a great deal of joy to be gained from the practice of gratitude, whether it be in the short term or long term. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by life, but by focusing on what we are grateful for we remind ourselves that there is always something good going on in our lives. Whether it’s recognizing that we have food or water and shelter or simply saying thanks for having someone special in our lives who loves us unconditionally; these small acts can make ALL the difference when times get tough.