5 Grateful Behaviors to Nurture
The Art of Gratitude
“One of the best things about thankfulness is that the more you choose it, the easier it gets. The more you profess gratitude, the more you notice things to be grateful for.
The thankfulness muscles respond to exercise!”
What struck me about that quote is that I must “choose it.” I choose gratitude. I must look for chances to feel grateful. My actions point me to gratitude. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am in control of my life. My last 2 blogs, on The Lost Art of Writing Letters and The 5Ws of Gift Giving, I now can put it all together to form gratitude.
As I am in control of my emotional health, I feel grateful for all that I have. In addition, I feel grateful for the people in my life.
Practice gratitude. Everything we learn we do it over and over until we perform the task well. Such it is with gratitude. Time must be taken to look for gratitude moments, react to the gratitude, and increase the level of gratitude in our lives.
We have all heard this before, look at the things you have and count your blessings for the people in your life. But we tend to be ungrateful and lean toward negative, envious thinking.
I want that car
Why can’t I go to Hawaii
That’s not fair!
I deserve it.
We are choosing ungratefulness. We are practicing envy. We look the other way at what and who we have in our lives and focus on a sense of entitlement.
The saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will feed himself for life.” I believe I do that with my family sometimes. I cook, clean, pay the bills, make sure they have snacks, car insurance, phones and then I wonder why they don’t thank me. I keep giving them the fish and not teaching them to fish. Since all they do is receive, they believe that ‘s what they should have all the time.
Wow! I’ve just taught them “learned helplessness.” The first thing I must do is let them have more responsibility around the house; pay for their car insurance, and phones. I think I will charge a cleaning fee as well! My kids moved home because of Covid19, and all have jobs!
Next, I will start practicing looking for gratitude.
I am grateful that my kids are home again.
I am grateful that I’ve been given more time with them as they grow into adulthood.
I am grateful that they like to eat because feeding them is something I enjoy.
I am grateful that one day my kids will leave.
There have been studies done on gratitude. Most of the studies find that increasing a grateful life is beneficial for sleep, health, work environment, and relationships. (See a list at the end of this article.)
How to practice gratitude.
The following list comes from many studies done on gratitude with a few modifications I added.
Gratitude Journal was always the 1st on any list. The studies did not agree on how many days a week you should journal to see a change in yourself. But give it a try!
Think about someone for whom you are grateful
Write a gratitude letter to someone for whom you are thankful. Consider sending it or giving it to them in person. Refer to my blog, Write on! The Lost Art of Writing Letters
Practice saying “thank you” in a real and meaningful way. Be specific. For example, “Thank you for taking the time to read this article and leave a comment.”
Write thank you notes. Some might say this is a lost art. (See my blog, Write on! The Lost Art of Writing Letters.)
If religious, what does your faith say about gratitude?
Recall a negative event. Doing this helps you appreciate your current situation.
Build visual cues to practice gratitude. Sticky notes, notifications, I am grateful for_______(mantra).
Notice and express what others have done for you
Actions lead to gratitude. Be mindful of your actions and its consequences.
“Be a grateful gazer.” You have lots of chances to feel appreciative.
Give something up and increase your enjoyment of it.
Let go of envy.
Practice Gratitude again and again
Share your gratitude verbally, in art, creatively, written, sung, painted etc.
This is a long list. I have condensed it into 5 crucial grateful behaviors that we can all do daily.
Gratitude Journal—notice grateful acts, do graceful acts for others, notice & acknowledge what others do for you.
Practice actionable acts of gratitude, use your faith
Write gratitude letters, thank you notes, sticky notes, art
Use grateful words, “thank you” with a specific purpose
Let go of envy. Hold onto to gratitude.
Gratitude is a choice. As your gratitude grows you will feel that warm, fuzzy feeling of thankfulness of things and people. Your ability to “always look on the bright side of life” will increase. Others will see your renewed gratefulness and will emulate you.
SK out! Have a Great Week! Be Happy!
· Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). The Psychology of Gratitude (Series in Affective Science). New York: Oxford University Press.
· Merriam Webster. (2019). Gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gratitude
· Gordon, A. M., Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., Oveis, C., & Keltner, D. (2012). To have and to hold: Gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds. Journal of personality and social psychology, 103(2), 257.