It is something most of us learn at a very early age. Someone gives you something and you are prompted: “What do you say now? That’s right, ‘Thank You!’” Most children by the age of three are expected to verbalize their gratefulness when given a piece of candy or fruit, a toy or present, or if allowed to take the first turn.
When was the last time you said thank you to someone? I mean, not a response said out of habit and not really intentional but an honest-to-goodness, thought-out, full of meaning “Thank You”. Somehow in the process of growing up we tend to outgrow that utterance of intentional gratitude. And that is a shame.
Gratitude and the expression of it not only convey a positive note to someone else. Being grateful has very definite and long-lasting benefits to the person feeling and saying it. Make a list of things you are grateful for and you will improve your mental health. Don’t forget the basics. Notate you are grateful for the fingers operating your keyboard because without them, much of your life would be very difficult if not impossible.
Research provides us with statistical evidence that while materialistic people are rich in material goods, they are not necessarily rich in well-being. Many have come to expect their “possessions” and have few feelings of gratitude for it. This creates a feeling of dissatisfaction because they just want more without having any thankfulness for that which they already own.
Appreciation of the little things in life has many positive benefits. Teenagers who habitually show gratitude have higher scholastic scores and grade point averages. People who are grateful are generally more optimistic and have better personal relationships.
Try saying a sincere thank you to at least two people every day. You don’t need to take five minutes but do mention to them what you are grateful for regarding them. Can a thank you note help your overall health? Research answers affirmatively.
Concentrating on the positive does not mean everything will always go smoothly. What it does is help one remember that good things still are present, even in times of great distress. An attitude of gratitude helps alleviate stress.
In everything we do we have two choices. We can approach things with a positive attitude or we can feel sorry for ourselves and only see the negative. The latter accomplishes nothing and odd are that no one else is going to feel sorry for you so your effort to garner sympathy is fruitless. Having an attitude of gratitude makes you happier to be around and can help with problem solving which will also alleviate stress.
If you are having trouble getting started with being grateful, just imagine your life without something. Several years ago I lived in an area devastated by a series of very strong tornadoes. We went several days without electricity or media communications except for battery-powered radios. Fortunately the water supply was not affected. I still am mindful of how much I missed those “creature comforts” which really, given the scope of many people and how they live in the world, was ridiculous. I am lucky to have running water much less all the other stuff like cable television, electricity, transportation, etc.
After you give thanks for your home and how you live, move on to freedoms. Most of us can think of things we’d like to have but forget to give thanks for those we already have been blessed to own or experience.
Finally, a habit of saying thank you has been proven to aid in sleep patterns. When we are able to reconcile the day with seeing something positive, we rest easier which improves our overall health, both physically and emotionally. Take a few minutes and jot down three things for which you give thanks. Then write a brief note to someone or post a Facebook thank you. You’ll find yourself gifted with a better attitude, making this ordinary evening something special.
Thank you for reading this and sharing this blog with me. You are making my time very special. See, now you know you are not alone or isolated because someone is grateful you are here. Gratitude leads to compassion which leads to positive action which will create a better world. Practicing thanksgiving is the best way to combat aging and poor health. Spread the word – give thanks!