Everyday, you're bombarded with messages telling you miracle cures to happiness; try this one last fad and it will work this time. Most of it? Untrue, marketing tactics trying to sell you something. What we recommend is plain, simple, and free: a habit of grateful.
Recent studies show that a consistent practice of gratitude has many benefits including:
Increased happiness and life satisfaction
Better physical health
Lower levels of anxiety and depression
But what is gratitude? Is it walking up to all my friends and constantly telling them how great they are? Close, but more simply, gratitude is identifying what we are grateful for and giving thanks for what we have.
So, where do we start? A simple way to start your practice of gratitude today is to just ask yourself, what am I grateful for today?
Here are some of my recommendations:
- Being alive
- Family & Friends
- A pet
- Things: home, clothes, basic necessities like food
"When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around."
Alright, I hear you saying, I thought about things I can be grateful for. Now what?
There's a couple options! The next step is doing something with that gratitude, simply writing it down on a piece of paper, making a quick little drawing, even just speaking them aloud works! Something other than just thinking about them is the important part.
As you continue to do this, you will find that you feel happier and more content.
"The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated." William James
Now, sometimes when you think of what you are grateful for, you think of people in your life. Great! That means you have some an amazing relationships. Now, you can do the simple activities described above, or you can try writing gratitude letters: simple notes that are a gift for both you and the recipient. You get the benefits of a practice of gratitude, and they receive kind words and appreciation from a close friend.
If you're looking for a starter kit to writing gratitude letters, take a look at the Box of Gratitude. We've included specific instructions for how to write notes of gratitude, as well as writing prompts to help you get started and a worksheet to track your process. Our notecards are timeless and are the perfect way to share thanks with others.
"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." - Ralph Waldo Emerson