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Give Thanks: Why and How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

In Featured, Mental Health Resources, News by Sarah Lyngdal

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.”
Oprah

November is the month most people stop to think about what they’re thankful for. But studies show there are physical health, mental health, and social benefits to practicing gratitude regularly.

The Benefits of Gratitude Affect All Areas of Our Lives

Focusing on what we’re thankful for changes the way we think, and the benefits extend to all areas of our lives.

Relationships

Gratitude can improve our personal relationships. Grateful and positive people are magnetic, and other people want to be around them. Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions; we become more empathetic, optimistic, compassionate and kind.

Learn more about how gratitude can help up build better relationships.

Emotions

Gratitude reduces toxic emotions like envy, frustration, regret, and resentment, while improving life satisfaction, self-esteem, and happiness.  We have better self-control and make better decisions because we’re more patient and thoughtful.

Read “The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety and Grief”.

Physical Health

The practice of writing in a gratitude journal before bed promotes positive thinking which helps us sleep better and longer. Good sleep improves our overall health.

Explore how gratitude affects your physical health.

Careers

Gratitude can help our careers. It helps us network, increases our productivity and improves our management skills. Expressing gratitude to employees, for example, increases employee motivation; we work harder when we feel appreciated.

Learn about Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude in the Workplace.

How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude doesn’t happen overnight – it takes consistent and intentional practice.  Choose one or more of these tips (or discover your own!) and practice it daily or as often as you’re able to.

  • Say “thank you”
  • Meditate and/or pray
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Make positive statements
  • Think about your accomplishments
  • Spend time in nature
  • Take a deep breath and slow down
  • Send a thank you card
  • Give someone a compliment
  • Donate (time, money, food, books, clothing)
  • Volunteer
  • Unplug from technology and be present
  • Call someone and tell them you love them
  • Focus on your strengths
  • Make a list of your favorite ways to cultivate gratitude

About the Author

Sarah Lyngdal

Sarah works with ERI’s Ticket to Work program with a focus on providing high quality and efficient services. She is passionate about helping individuals move forward with their employment goals. More about Sarah



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