During this time of the year, we are bombarded with positive messages of the season: warmth, joy, family, and the importance of gratitude. It is a common tradition for family members and friends to sit around the table and take turns naming people, things, and events for which they are thankful.
However, when you look around and think about what you are grateful for, you seem to come up short. You’re thousands of dollars in debt and behind on your bills, your efforts at work are not being noticed in the way you would like, and perhaps you are having trouble in one of your personal relationships. There could be a million reasons for not feeling very grateful this season, but if you take just a little bit of time each day, you can begin to recognize the many things in your life for which to be thankful.
Why is Gratitude Important?
It can be hard to remember the importance of gratitude in our lives when everything seems to be so terrible. We tend to dwell on the negatives and what needs to be improved.
However, when we focus on gratitude and those things for which we are thankful, our moods become more positive, and we are simply happier. Not only does gratitude have a positive, inward effect on ourselves, but it also improves our outlook on the world around us. By showing gratitude and giving back, we can positively affect the lives of others.
Happiness is contagious, and by spreading gratitude, we can make the world around us a bit brighter. But how do we transform our thinking and actions from a position of despair to one of gratitude?
Looking Inward for Gratitude
Sometimes, when we are put on the spot once a year, it is hard to dig through the negatives of our lives to find a positive. One thing that you can do to help remember all of the things to be grateful for in your life is to write them down in a journal.
While the practice of keeping a daily journal has been around for centuries, keeping one for the intentional purpose of positive self reflection dates back just a little over fifty years. And the practice of tracking positive events of the day in what has become known as a gratitude journal is a relatively new discipline.
At the end of each day think of three to five things that happened during the day that made you happy or had a positive impact on your life, and write them down in a journal. This intentional practice of logging the positives in your life will help to improve your overall outlook on life. And on days when you are feeling a little down, perhaps you can create positive moments for yourself, knowing that you need to have something to write in your gratitude journal at the end of the day.
Keeping a gratitude journal can help you focus on the positive aspects of your life. At the end of the week, look over the entries for each day and reflect on the overall positivity in your life.
Your gratitude journal can also serve as a reality check on days when you are feeling less positive about yourself or the world around you. And in those moments when you are put on the spot to mention something for which you are grateful, you will actually be able to come up with something.
Turning Your Gratitude Outward
Gratitude is not just something that affects us individually; it can also be shared with others. When we remember the importance of gratitude and giving, we have the power to help others.
Volunteering during this time of the year is a great way to appreciate the good fortune we have in our lives and to give back to others who may not be as fortunate as we are. Giving back can put the positives that we have in our lives into perspective. Volunteering, when done with gratitude in mind, can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience.
Find a charitable organization in your area whose mission or work you support and ask how you can help. Whether you donate money, food, clothing, supplies, or your time, you can make a positive impact on the life of someone else. Discover an intentional way to spread happiness and gratitude this season.
Having Trouble Finding Gratitude in Your Life?
If you find yourself having far more bad days than good and would have a tough time coming up with even one or two positive entries for a gratitude journal each day give us a call. One of the experienced therapists at Keri Powell Therapy can work with you to identify and lessen the stress in your life so you can begin to experience more positive moments each day.