What are you thankful for?

In these “unprecedented” times, (yep I said it) it’s generally pretty easy only look to the negatives, such as, “I can’t stand up at the pub”, “I’ve been put back to reduced hours” or “I can’t fly overseas on my 20k holiday”. 

So how do we flip the script, and use gratitude to be thankful for what we have, and what we don’t?

GRATITUDE

Gratitude (noun) is defined as: 

  • the quality of being thankful; 
  • readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Quite simply, gratitude is short for counting our blessings.

Today, count the blessings you have in your life. If you have an empty notebook, try writing in there. If you already keep a journal, put these at the top. 

There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.

It looks like this isn’t just some fluff statement but backed by research. 

HERE’S THE SCIENCE

There have been many studies done on gratitude and its relationship to happiness. One study* really stands out: 

The study randomly assigned participants one of three tasks. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25% happier than the hassles group. They reported fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

Another project** on daily gratitudes showed some very promising results. Participants had:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure.
  • Higher levels of positive emotion.
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness.
  • Acted with more generosity and compassion.
  • Felt less lonely and isolated. 
 

Executing your gratitude – it may seem simple but today we have a few tips that can help make this habit even more effective. 

1. WRITE THEM DOWN

Yes, just thinking about your daily gratitude can help but there is something very powerful about putting pen to paper and getting those thoughts out of your head and into the open. It makes them feel more real and allows you to really gain a better perspective. 

2. MAKE THEM AUTHENTIC

Just writing down three things as quickly as you can isn’t going to give you great results. They have to be something real and authentic to your daily life to give you the most benefit. They don’t need to be some profound revelation. For example, I am grateful for the chair I am sitting on. It sure beats sitting on the floor.  

3. DO IT DAILY

Being grateful once in a while won’t make the changes you are looking for. This has to be a daily practice to get amazing benefits. It doesn’t have to take you a long time every day, but this can be a habit that impacts not only your life but the lives of people close to you – It takes less than 2 minutes in the morning or at night but can change the way you approach the day or the next for the better. 

4. FIND A COMMON THEME

BONUS TIP: This is a tip that you don’t have to follow but I have found to be helpful. Instead of writing down three random gratitudes every day, I try to find a common theme. It might be the relationships I have in my life, something to do with nature or even my overall health. The theme does not matter, but it does help me focus on one area of my life for that day (or week) and get a much deeper appreciation. 

Remember to write three things you are grateful for today.

*Gratitude study by Robert A. Emmons at the University of California, Davis.

**Gratitude project by Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkley

If you’re interested in becoming a member of our small group or personal training membership at our Paddington or Waterloo locations, click here to learn more and apply. 

Remember to write three things you are grateful for today.

Picture of Brandon Hasick

Brandon Hasick

Director and Head Coach
Body By Brando

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