During these challenging times it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the negativity that surrounds our current situation. It is times like these where it becomes imperative that we find joy in our lives. The benefits of this are numerous and include a healthier immune system. So what can we do to stay in good spirits? One of the things I find most helpful is practicing gratitude. Thinking of what you’re thankful for can boost your happiness and well-being. Many studies have shown that gratitude can reduce stress and help with depression. Grateful people have been shown to be physically healthier and mentally stronger. We encourage you to work on being intentionally grateful. Here are a few ways to start actively practicing gratitude:
- Count your blessings. One of the best things you can do is to count your blessings. This will train your mind to focus on the good. Take it a step further, and actually write down 5 things you’re thankful for every single day. Make this into a habit and invite your family/friends to join you. You’ll be surprised at how big of an impact this will have on your happiness and how sharing your own stories of gratitude will bring joy to others.
- Avoid Complaining. Are your conversations full of complaints? So often we don’t even realize that we are complaining. We vent to our friends and family without even thinking twice about it. Instead try to turn your conversations to something you’re grateful for, or something positive in your day. Take it a step further and pay attention to your thoughts. Do your first thoughts about a situation tend to be negative? Try to reframe these thoughts to be more positive. You’ll find yourself feeling happier and more hopeful.
- Notice the little things. Search for every good thing in your life no matter how small it may seem and take a minute to acknowledge it. Really pause and appreciate it. Soak in the goodness. You can also make it your own little game – see how many good things you can recognize throughout your day. You’ll start to feel a sense of abundance in your life.
- Random Act of Kindness. Share your gratitude with a family member, friend, coworker, or a stranger. This can be as simple as remembering to say thank you or calling someone to tell them how much you appreciate them. You could do someone’s least favorite house chore for them. You could buy a gift card to help support small businesses and then send it to someone for a double act of kindness. There are endless possibilities of things you can do for others.