Karen Best Wright, B.S., M.A., Holistic Health & Wellness Coach
Experiencing the benefits of gratitude is much more than enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with friends or family. Practicing gratitude in life can improve physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. While thinking positive, thankful thoughts is beneficial, writing them down is more effective. Even more, verbally expressing thoughts of gratitude can be empowering.
There are two aspects of gratitude. The first is to think, write, or speak thankful thoughts, which is necessary. The second aspect goes a step further. It is to live a life that expresses gratitude through one's behavior.
The first aspect of gratitude is activities (thinking, writing, speaking) that help develop it as a personality trait or state of being. The more one thinks, writes, and speaks words of thankfulness, the easier it is to achieve a disposition of gratitude.
For example, when one leaves the house in the morning and encounters a torrent of rain, what thoughts immediately come to mind? Thankful thoughts might be, "I am so glad it's raining. My flowers need the water." Or, if it's been raining for days and more rain isn't needed, the thought might be, "I'm sure glad I have good windshield wipers."
A beneficial activity to build a life of gratitude is to write down your thankful thoughts. It can be a family activity or a solo one. If for a family activity, tape a large piece of paper on the fridge or some other convenient place and encourage family members to share a thankful thought each day. If this is a private activity, then a simple notebook works well. Verbally sharing your thoughts of gratitude helps cement this entire process.
It is unrealistic to believe one can always be positive. However, it is realistic to see how focusing on the positive improves personal well-being. It also benefits those around you. Just ask a friend.