Welcome and thank you for being here! 🙂
The ability to express gratitude is an essential life skill because it teaches us to be resilient, humble, and boosts our happiness. Gratitude is the best coping mechanism for everyday life. When something negative happens, try to find the positive in that situation and express your gratitude for embracing the brighter side.
So, what is gratitude? It is the ability to appreciate something, someone, or an experience. Appreciation is defined as recognizing the enjoyment and good qualities in someone or something. To fully appreciate something or someone, it means that you must recognize the bad qualities but still be able to see the good qualities.
The field of positive psychology boasts that engaging in daily gratitude exercises will increase your happiness, reduce stress, improve mood, and make you more positive. With our fast paced lifestyles and 101 first world problems, it’s really difficult to find the time to sit and show appreciation to ourselves. The self is the most important entity to its own world, yet most of us ignore our inner beings. It’s not because we are ignorant. I find people are too busy of wanting to take care of others or their basic needs that they don’t sit down and “smell the flowers.”
Gratitude is integral to well-being and this has been proven for decades among religious groups, and philosophical disquisitions. Below I have outlined a simple exercise that you can do to improve your gratuity skills so that you can see all of the good and positive things that exist in your life! Remember that being positive is not to be a high energy, happy-go-lucky, optimistic bumble-bee. It is to recognize the entirety (bad and good) in a situation, person or thing and to react to the positive side oppose to the negatives. For example, I was supporting a client who wanted to make sandwiches to feed to the homeless. This individual had fine motor difficulties but that did not stop us from making wicked sandwiches! In this situation, I remembered he was trying to open a can of tuna and he accidentally dropped the oil-based tuna on the floor. He was devastated but my reaction helped avoid a behaviour because I quickly recognized that this person made a mistake. I reassured him that it was okay and that we can always get another can of tuna. Remember that failures are new guidelines for successes, people are not malicious and they make mistakes. You are human and it is perfectly okay to make mistakes, as long as you recognize those mistakes. It is never too late to change anything, nor is it ever a bad time as long as you are willing.
- Paper (or you can print my neat worksheet and fill it out daily)
- Write the date.
- List 3 things that you are grateful for. This can be anything from avoiding an unfavourable situation to spending quality time with a dear one.
- Continue this exercise for a minimum of one week and reflect on how you are feeling. Do you feel more positive? Is it becoming easier to find appreciation for the people and things around you?
-Today I am grateful for…attending meditation classes and taking the time to introduce myself to everyone, as well as learning everyone’s name.
-Today I am grateful for… being kind to everyone around me and not showing a negative attitude even though I just wanted to go home to sleep!
- Do this exercise at the end of your day so that you can reflect on your current day. You will acquire the best results by showing gratitude on the end of your day, you will also sleep better!
- Pick a time to journalize and stick with it. Try to do your exercise the same time everyday so that you can build it into your routine.
Below is a free PDF file that I created to make it easier for anyone to start their gratitude journal. You can print it and save them in a binder to reflect on. It’s really interesting if you archive your journals and re-read them 6 months from now. You can do that same thing with your own journal if you have one handy.
Biswas-Dienner, R. (2010). Practicing POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY COACHING: Assessment, Activities, and Strategies for success
Wood, A. M.., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The role of gratitude in the development of social support, stress, and depression; Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Research in Personality, 4, 854-871.