This time of year can bring an array of feelings ranging from joy to anxiety. However we find ourselves, there is one word that we can all relate to… Gratitude. Gratitude refers to the ability to show thankfulness for the people in your life and appreciate the things you have. As well it's being grateful for the people and experiences you've had in the past and being able to pay it forward to someone else. Some interesting studies show that practicing gratitude daily can significantly improve your happiness and overall well-being! WebMD states several benefits to practicing gratitude, such as increased happiness, reduced depression, gained strength when facing adversity, and community building.
Sharing your gratitude with others is just as important as the next step in recognizing our gratitude from within. Sometimes life gets in the way and we forget to be grateful. So how do we do it? With today's crazy demands, how do we learn to pause to appreciate enough to make a difference in our lives and others? The answer is routine. The more we do something, the more it becomes a part of us, and before we know it, we won't even be trying anymore; it will come as second nature.
Start practicing self-care and expressing gratitude to those around you. By partaking in this practice, we hope to help change your perspective and unlock happiness from within. No matter where your contentment lies, we are confident that by practicing gratitude daily, you and those around you will find more to be thankful for than ever realized before!
End each day with Gratitude
First things first! We need to be grateful for our own lives. And with 100 different things swirling through our minds at night, it can be hard to get rested, and relaxed come nighttime. So instead of checking off your to-do list, close your eyes and say a "thank you" for everything you are grateful for that day.
Even if you feel like you've had a "bad day," there is something to be grateful for, such as the seemingly insignificant things that can impact our lives. Here are a few examples: the kind person that opened the door for you today when you needed an extra hand, a thoughtful text or phone call from a friend, appreciating the warm bed we have to sleep in, or perhaps your precious pet. And let us not forget a most precious gift that easily gets overlooked, the gift of waking up that day and having second chances.
Simple Acts of Kindness
Don't let the word "simple" trick you! Simple acts of kindness go further and mean more to people than what some would expect. We often overlook the thought of following through with doing something kind because it can seem too insignificant. However, seemingly simple acts of kindness could be the most impactful to someone. It may be precisely what they need to set their day off on the right path or even turn a not-so-great day around with a much-needed smile. Still, trying to figure out where to start? We have provided a few below for starters. Have fun with it, and expand on each as much as you like!
• Clean up after yourself
Cleaning up after yourself is always appreciated but sometimes overlooked. We can get so busy that we often think, "I'll get to it later," and then we get busy with interruptions and forget. If something left behind should not be there (ex: coffee marks or sugar trails on the break room counter), clean it up! Keeping a clean and tidy space can relieve unnecessary stress for you and your co-workers. Want to take it one step further? If you dare, tackle that break room refrigerator that desperately needs to be cleaned and place a surprise treat inside for everyone to enjoy!
• Be a good neighbor
As our mothers always told us, “Treat people the way you want to be treated!" And this statement could not be more accurate than how we treat our neighbors! So, start by taking the time to get to know each other with a friendly introduction and smile, offering your assistance if they ever need anything, taking in their trash from the street at the end of trash day; you can even invite them over for a game night or a BBQ! The bottom-line is don't pass up the chance to do something kind for those around you. You may find that you needed them in your life just as much as they needed you!
• Be patient
Especially around the holidays, retail stores and restaurants can get chaotic, and frustrations can rise! But remember, many people are out and about with the same intentions as you. Whether it's to find a parking spot, buy an item on their list, or fill their hungry bellies with much-anticipated food! Being patient is a simple act of kindness that can go further than you think and will defuse an otherwise stressful situation.
• Say "Thank you."
We often will be gifted with a kind gesture and forget to say, "thank you." Letting someone know we are thankful for them will not only, at the least, validate their significance to us, but it will show them that we appreciate their act of kindness and did not take it for granted. Keep in mind this applies to more than just out-of-the-ordinary gestures. For example, showing appreciation with a larger-than-average tip and saying "thank you" and "good job" to your server at a restaurant. Letting a cross-guard know you are thankful for them for ensuring kids are safely crossing the street. And remember to provide a thank you to your significant other even when they've done a common routine task. Such as making the bed or folding the laundry. A thank you goes a long way in showing your appreciation and gratitude.