Cultivating Thankfulness

21 Nov

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Thankfulness.  Gratitude.  We throw words around like that all the time, but what do they truly mean?  How do we express them?  How do we SHOW them?  These terms can mean many things to many people and everyone may show them in a different way.   One thing is for certain though – no matter how difficult the challenges we face and struggles we manage, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Thankfulness can be thought of in two different ways:  short term (being thankful in the moment) and long term (being thankful for the foreseeable future and beyond).   If you find it difficult (as a lot of us do) to consistently look at life in this perspective, there are quite a few ways in which you can cultivate your thankfulness and create a lifestyle of gratitude.

PART ONE – Long Term

  1. Keep A Journal:  Reminding yourself what you have to be grateful for and recording your gratefulness each day helps to cement how thankful you are. It doesn’t matter how difficult your life is at the moment, there is always something to be thankful for.
  2. Flip Your Thinking:  People who are thankful for the things in their lives aren’t living an easier life than you. In fact, many of the people who practicing the most gratitude are the people who have had incredibly difficult things happen to them because they understand that it isn’t the situation that’s the problem, it’s how you think about the situation that makes it easier or more difficult.
  3. Enjoy A Healthy Lifestyle:  Give thankfulness a boost by cultivating a healthy lifestyle for yourself by getting enough sleep, drinking water, eating in a way that fosters your well-being, and exercising (which helps to regulate your moods and make you feel better).
  4. Smile More: Scientists have found that smiling on purpose can help people feel better. Just the simple act of putting a smile on your face (as well as seeing another person smile) can lead you to feel actual happiness, joy, or amusement. Smiling on purpose changes brain chemistry.

PART TWO – In The Moment

  1. Take A Break:  Sometimes a good way to get you back on track and feeling better is to take a break. You’ll need to create things to be grateful for, sometimes, and a break can be a good one.  Go outside and take a walk.  Go on a vacation and recharge.
  2. Tell Someone You Appreciate Them:  So often life gets busy and you forget to tell people that they matter, that you’ve noticed what they do, and it means a lot to you. People will remember you more fondly if you thank them. It will cultivate an atmosphere of thankfulness that can spread out gradually.
  3. Say Thank You:  Speaking the words aloud can help cement the feeling of gratitude in your life. Not only that, but it helps others to know that you are thankful for the things that they have done for you. It can also help get you back on track when you’re starting to feel anxious or stressed by the things going on around you and in the world.
  4. Give Back:   Being thankful isn’t just about telling people you are thankful, it’s also about giving back to your community and to your friends.  Do something for the people in your life who have helped you. You don’t have to tell them that you’re doings something for them because they’ve done something for you.  Do something for people you don’t know. Sometimes people do things for you that you can’t easily repay, but you can pay the kindness forward.

It isn’t just around the holidays that we need to perpetuate the feelings and acts of thankfulness and gratitude.  The upcoming festivities are a great reminder – but it’s what you do/say/show the REST of the days that truly matters.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  🙂

~Dayna
PX Studio


Sources:

Huffington Post
WikiHow
PBS

 

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