This article was originally posted by Sixty + Me
How many times a day do you give gratitude for your gifts, for your family and for the blessings of your life?
I’ll admit it. Some days I forget to make my gratitude intentional, and then when I realize I haven’t done so, I understand why my day is off balance. “Oh, that’s why I’m not fully present!” “Oh, that’s why everything I do seems to be slightly off!”
Giving gratitude throughout the year is crucial for good mental health. Gratitude stimulates your neurotransmitters, the hormones that bring energy and happiness into your living experience.
Also, during periods that build up the stress, like the holidays, there is the anticipation of entering a new year with all the new resolutions you hope to keep longer than the month of January. At those times, a gratitude routine keeps struggle to a minimum and raises our happiness quotient.
Making a Gratitude List
There is never a lack of things to be grateful for. If you look hard enough, you will find them. If you have any questions about how to create a gratitude list or increase the band-width of your gratitude, you might focus on 5 areas that will grow your gratitude.
Reflect on the People for Whom You Are Grateful
There are many people in our lives for whom we should be grateful: family, friends, people from our past and present. There are also the mentors or people who have impacted your life in a positive way.
Don’t forget to be grateful also for the random people that you meet at the supermarket or at an event that connects you with interesting or fascinating individuals.
Reflect on Your Talents
Be grateful for your background, education, your motivation, where you live, your environment, a few important possessions, or even your animals.
Reflect on the Moments
Think about the times in your life that have shaped you into the person you are today. These can include ways in which your parents influenced you, connections with mentors, your partner(s), travel and academic experiences.
Reflect on the Places
Consider the places you wish to visit in the future, or your favorite retreat, favorite passion, what you do with your spare time or retirement time that has been more important or useful to you. Where do you see yourself going in the next decades?
Reflect on Your Passions
Look for ways to express your gratitude for what excites you and brings you joy. Consider giving your time or money to causes in which you believe. Help those less fortunate than you. Make sure you thank those who show you kindness or support.
Overlooking the Obvious and Digging Deeper
There is so much going on in our environment and in our lives that it is easy to forget or overlook what’s obvious – the things that are directly in front of us.
Every day you learn valuable lessons and encounter people who touch your life and your spirit. Do you let these incidences fly by? Or do you reflect on these important moments and assess their impact?
The following are 3 questions to deepen your awareness of the obvious:
- How are you being tested daily? Even if these tests feel annoying, what value can you obtain from the experience? Can you find the positive in what might feel negative?
- Who is your biggest supporter, your most cherished counselor? What differences have they made in your life?
- Who do you admire? What giving experiences and contributions do you want to recognize?
Gratitude Accentuates the Positive
Gratitude can be a huge source of positive energy for you. And, while you are infusing yourself with daily gratitude, you will affect others. Other people feel your positive energy, and they can emulate it and pay it forward to the next person.
Gratitude inspires you to embrace your best self. Or better yet, gratitude inspires you to embrace your greatest self – your most fulfilling self – by helping you push through doubts, resistance, stress, self-criticism and self-sabotaging impulses.
Gratitude creates a positive mental state that leads to a shift in attitude and mood. This, in turn, produces a conscious daily process that will highlight all the wonderful possibilities and opportunities waiting for you just around the corner.
Gratitude will inspire you to take action to carry out your daily intentions and to achieve your goals.
Follow Your Gratitude During the Holidays
Life is an action, not a thought, so practice a full routine of gratitude during the holidays with planned action. Make some time every day to think about and list your accomplishments and everything you have to be grateful for in your life.
It would be a great idea to also make a resolution to invest in future gratitude. Practice awareness of everything you are grateful for during your day, so that you will discover and broaden your investment in all aspects of a fulfilling life in the future.