Tools for Tough Times: Gratitude

Gratitude is like a health food for us, including in the tough times. The research is rich with the positive benefits of thinking and and acting on gratitude on a daily basis. For example….

We know that grateful people, those who find ways to express heartfelt gratitude daily, will sleep better and longer, are more likely to eat healthily, exercise more, and experience fewer aches and pains.  They tend to enjoy lower levels of stress reactions and maintain a better mood than those who do not.  And the list goes on from here.  One of the healthiest things you can do in life is to be grateful in thought and words every day.

Gratitude tips that I use regularly – Perhaps these will resonate with you as well. You can use these or come up with other expressions.  The key is to start expressing gratitude daily if you are not already. And if you are already, then ramp it up!  Gratitude is contagious!

Write at least five things for which you are grateful while drinking your coffee in the morning.

Discover the use of a gratitude journal, a gratitude post board, or a gratitude jar that you can use to record your grateful thoughts and reflect on them later. This reflecting is especially helpful when you struggle with finding gratitude at some point.

Express thanks to your higher power before getting out of bed. For me it is prayers of thanks to my God. This has been shown to have efficacy no matter your higher power concept.

Express gratitude to anyone who serves or helps you – sincerely, making appropriate eye contact, and being specific about that for which you are grateful.

Leave notes to thank people for their contribution or for simply being there – on a sticky note, a whiteboard, or in an email or text.

On your way to or from work, turn off the radio and list for yourself at least three things and/or people for which you are grateful regarding your work.

Ideas for leaders – How are you telling your team of their worth and your gratitude?  Be honest and genuine. Some of the ideas above will work.  So will a central gratitude board, gratitude team emails that recipients can “respond to all” with their points of gratitude.    And, of course, thank more people more often, with sincerity and substance.  You can say it many ways – with your eyes, gestures, and smiles – and even with words!

Remembering to express your gratitude daily will be a helpful practice for all of us going forward.

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