“Thank you” is an overused phrase, perhaps also the most undervalued, diminished by constant use. Ironically, it may also be one that we don’t have enough of on a deeper level. Gratitude, experts say, is a thankful appreciation for what one receives. In life’s convoluted web of relationships and social entanglements, it’s refreshing to indulge in simple acts and pleasures.
Dr. Dona Matthews affirms the power and grace of Thank You. Many others, experts and non-experts alike, extol the benefits of gratitude. There are voluminous research studies undertaken that validate this but let’s not geek out on it. Here’s the gist: Gratitude makes one happier, healthier, and hardier while navigating through life’s ups and downs. There’s a caveat - one has to make a habit out of it to reap the benefits in good measure.
Start each day with gratitude
Wake up with a thankful heart. You’re blessed with another day, another shot at life and all its potentials.
Appreciate the people with you and around you
Give someone a thank-you note or express appreciation for the little things someone does for you. Build on this gratitude practice to nurture relationships and strengthen social support.
Forsake ego / pride
It takes selflessness to be grateful. Self-entitlement or ‘all about me’ attitude leaves hardly any room for appreciation. Let go of self-centeredness, yield to gratitude in all its gratification.
Keep a gratitude journal
Note down not just the good things but seek out the gains, even from the negative circumstances. Try a different perspective. Be grateful for your weakness or inadequacy that may have kept you grounded and motivated to strive harder, the hardships that made you strong, the pains and heartbreaks that taught you to endure, the obstacles that trained you to overcome. These are easily overlooked when you don’t consciously seek them out.
Go out and take a leisurely walk. Focus on the sights and sounds that please you along the way. Interact positively with the people you meet, seize opportunities to engage in small talk, work out a sweat, let those endorphins out – enjoy the moment.
Pray or meditate
It helps clear your mind. Focus on the people, things, and events you are grateful for. Let gratitude be your prayer or thought anchor.
Getting into the habit of gratitude may be a struggle at first but it gets easier and more natural with persistent practice. The potential benefits are worth going the mile to do it and do it repeatedly. It improves your physical, physiological, and mental health, reinforces relationships, and enrich the overall quality of your life.
The next time you instinctively say “thank you,” take a moment to think what you’re truly thankful for and savor it.