The Importance of Gratitude

A natural looking Label with the Saying Its Always a Good Time to Begin

I have written about gratitude before, but with Thanksgiving coming up next week I couldn’t resist revisiting the topic.  As a psychologist, I am consistently grateful and honored to be a part of the my client’s journey.  It is a gift to see them grow and attain greater satisfaction, peace, and happiness.  In addition, the longer I am in this work, the more I realize the importance of gratitude in all our lives.

When we are able to find the parts of our day (and lives) that we can be grateful for, something in us shifts.  In any situation, we can try to find the place of gratitude.  Sometimes it is more challenging than others, but it is always there if we look hard enough.  Gratitude is definitely a practice.  No different than learning any other new skill.  When you learn to read, drive, ski, whatever….it takes time, practice, perseverance to get good.  It does not come easy at first.  Gratitude is no different.  If you want to live a life of gratitude you need to be purposeful about it.  You need to be patient with yourself as you learn to recognize things to be grateful for.  You need to practice.

Here are a couple of ideas you can use to practice gratitude:

  1.  Each morning when you wake up think of three things you are grateful for in your life.  Start your day off by really trying to feel the gratitude you have for these things.  They can be little or big, it doesn’t matter.  Notice if your mood for the morning is any different.
  2. When something negative happens in your day, pay attention.  Once you notice the negative event and emotions that go with it, see if you can find any part of the situation for which you can be grateful.  If you work on doing this each day, with each negative event you will train your brain to notice the positive in your life more easily.
  3. Write a list of things you are grateful for in your life.  Once you have your list you can post it somewhere you often look.  If you don’t want to post it, you can also put it somewhere just you will notice it (such as your wallet, car, etc).  For kids they can post their list of gratitude in the bathroom where they brush their teeth.

Just for fun, I have typed some great quotes about gratitude for you to check out:

“It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.” – Author Unknown

“Gratitude turns what you have into enough.” – Melody Beattie

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” – Brene Brown

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of gratitude:)

Written by Dr. Steffanie Stecker

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