The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives and in others. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.
Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. Instead it remains a reminder of where we can place our focus and attention upon. This is an important reminder in the world that we live in. The busyness of life, the demands on our schedules will quickly have us forget these things.
It is to not only access the power of gratitude for ourselves but to also demonstrate it with others. So, when you have a chance, look around you. In my coaching conversations with leaders, I often encourage them to demonstrate their gratitude to those that they lead. Sometimes it is in the simple ways of a “thank you card” or that note that expresses your acknowledgment of their work. You would be surprised of the effects of this simple expression of gratitude.
How will you go about practicing gratitude within you and with others?