Ah, November – the month of Thankfulness and Gratitude. We live in a fast-paced society these days, sometimes we tend to forget, overlook, worry and notice about the things that are lacking in our lives. Instead of focusing and being thankful for what we have, we focus on things that stand in our way or items that we don’t have.
Research shows that gratitude has powerful effects on physical health, social relationships, and self-worth. Experiencing gratitude also builds the mental and physical resilience needed to overcome life’s stresses and challenges.
People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of positive emotions, including more joy, happiness, and optimism. These people also tend to have stronger social relationships and fewer feelings of isolation and loneliness, perhaps resulting from the fact that they are shown to be more generous, compassionate, and forgiving. New research also shows that gratitude can reduce the frequency or duration of episodes of depression.
When you catch yourself focusing on the negative, switch gears and try to recognize and appreciate what’s good around you. Here are three simple tricks to practice gratitude and remind yourself of the good in life:
There is something about actually writing words onto paper. Your brain and heart connect and you remember things better when the action of writing takes place.
Take a moment to write a letter to someone you are grateful for, it will boost your happiness, and theirs! Not only will it make you happier, but it also strengthen your relationship with the person to whom you are writing. Writing to others may help give them the boost or motivation that they need to carry on.
Starting a gratitude journal is a proven way to improve your happiness and health. You don’t have to write lengthy pages of what you are thankful for but simply take a few minutes each night or even each day and write a few sentences of things that happened during your week.
People who focus more on the positive and less on the negative are more likely to be more optimistic and feel better about their overall lives. A study conducted by Robert Emmons, show that participants who wrote about gratitude demonstrated better physical health than their counterparts who wrote about negative or neutral events.
Start a gratitude journal by downloading the Jordan Essentials Gratitude Download and during the month of November list three to five things that went well or that you’re grateful for—every week, every day, or even multiple times a day for maximum effect.
You can use your own gratitude to influence others around you! This is a great thing to start with the whole family! At the end of each day throw your spare change into a jar. Then, when the jar is full, use the money to “pay it forward”—buy flowers for a deserving person, buy a few soothing bath bombs with gift tags to have on hand to give to stressed out friends and co workers, order lunch for the office, or purchase a few $5 Starbucks gift cards and leave them around a university library during finals week.