Heaven High, everyone! How was your Christmas or Hanukah? For those of you who celebrate Kwanzaa, I would like to wish you a happy first day of Kwanzaa!
I would also like to take this time to talk about gratitude. Thom shared a great story about oxytocin and generosity on Wednesday. I believe that generosity and gratitude go hand-in-hand. Let’s talk about how gratitude can help improve your life and how you can “use it” proactively.
#1) Natural and Healthy De-Stressor
How do you normally feel when you thank someone for something or show gratitude in a different way? If you’ve never really thought about it before, now is an excellent time to test it out. Write thank you cards to those who sent or gave you Christmas presents. Send thank you text messages with little notes on how you plan on using your presents.
After you go through that exercise, make a note on how you feel. For most people, showing gratitude is cathartic and a natural de-stressor. Showing gratitude and performing random acts of kindness are my stress-relief activities of choice. They both:
– Feel good,
– Make the world around me a better place,
– Make people smile (including myself),
– Help to strengthen my values, and
– Are things that I wish to pass along to the next generation.
#2) Boosts Your Immune System
How can being grateful boost your immune system? Well, grateful people are more optimistic, which is said to cause a positive effect on your immune function. In one study, researchers compared the immune systems of students and found that optimistic students had higher numbers of the blood cells that protect their immune systems.
#3) Puts Things in Perspective
By counting your blessings instead of your burdens, gestures like being grateful can really help you put everything in perspective.
One way to take advantage of this phenomenon is by keeping a gratitude journal. I suggest picking up a small notebook that you can keep in a pocket or purse. Each day make sure to write down at least three things that you are thankful for. Try not to repeat items (at least not in a one month span of time).
Don’t forget the small things either. Write down the small things that you are grateful for and break down the bigger items. Instead of saying, “I am grateful for having my significant other in my life,” write down why you are grateful for him or her:
“I am grateful that my fiancé made a pot of coffee for me before he left for work this morning.”
“I am grateful that my fiancé and I have the same taste in movies.”
“I am grateful that my fiancé and I don’t have to do anything elaborate or expensive to enjoy time together.”
After you’re done listing things down in your book, don’t forget to voice them as well. Tell your significant other why you love him and what you are grateful for.
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Greater Good: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude
Happier Human: http://happierhuman.com/the-science-of-gratitude/