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Gratitude – Not Just for Thanksgiving

Today is Memorial Day. I’m sure we all are grateful to the members of the military who work hard, often in dangerous and unpleasant conditions, to keep our enemies away from us. Sometimes it’s easy to take peace (in our country, anyway) for granted, and it’s good to have a day to remind us that everything has a price.

I am always interested in psychological studies, and ‘gratitude’ is a subject receiving some attention in the field of “positive psychology”. What they are finding is that maintaining a positive attitude of gratitude can improve your psychological, emotional and physical well-being.

Wow. That’s a lot of benefits from a simple thing that anyone can do at any time. I won’t cite all the facts and figures because they can get dull. But they say that people who have a positive mindset of gratitude are happier, healthier, more successful and have more friends. I’ll take a large helping of that.

How can you make gratitude more a part of your life?

Every day, write down something that happened that day which you are grateful for. Hey, this one is easy for us, right? We’re writers. Be specific. Not: I’m still grateful to be alive, but I’m grateful my husband greeted me with a kiss this morning.

Try sharing things you’re grateful for with your friends, rather than sharing only complaints.

You can join an online gratitude group (Facebook, Myspace, etc.). There’s also an iPod app.

Most importantly, adopt a more positive mental attitude. Focus on the good things people have done for you, rather than the not-so-good.

The final benefit? I think it may be the biggest. While you are expressing gratitude to those around you, you are also improving their well-being. That’s what psychologists call a win-win situation.

So think about it. What are you grateful for today?


2 Responses

  1. Well said, Carly. Because when we’re appreciating something else, someone else, we aren’t focusing on ourselves. And that’s always a positive thing.

    Great post and one everyone should read every day.

  2. Hi Carly,
    Here’s another benefit, if you’re grateful for traits you wished you had or someone else had. Ex: I am grateful I am more organized. You will eventually have those traits because the mind is a powerful tool. If you are feeling grateful for another person’s traits, you’ll be amazed how you start to see that person in a more positive light. Great Blog

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