It’s been said gratitude may be the most important key to finding success and happiness.
November is National Gratitude Month. Obviously, Thanksgiving falls in November. The word “gratitude” gets tossed around a lot in November. Most people are at a loss for what they’re grateful for once you get passed the normal things such as family, friends, our home, our freedom, etc.
Most people don’t understand gratitude. It’s easy to say “I’m thankful” but its very hard to live by it. Gratitude defines us. What we are grateful for tells us who we are and what’s important to us. Feeling gratitude elevates us to higher levels of action and performance on any given day.
Gratitude is elusive. It’s hard for people to grasp and define. Gratitude is appreciation. You know something is valuable to you and you appreciate it. It’s also about goodness. The things we are grateful for are good. Gratitude is also about things outside of us.
Things we are grateful for change as we grow and become older. Fitness is a great example. When we’re young we tend to take fitness for granted. We may not be so grateful for our health. As we age, we become more and more grateful for good health. Fitness is something proven to improve health and longevity. People who are fit feel gratitude for their fitness membership, trainers and knowledge they’ve received.
Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people are more likely to exercise and take care of their health. They sleep better and eat regular meals. They feel fewer aches and pains. Longevity comes in part from living a life of gratitude.
Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the people we have in our lives and the other things we’re grateful for. To slow down and acknowledge our gratefulness makes us vulnerable. It requires us to humble ourselves and acknowledge the things we need. Some would see this as being weak. It’s actually a place to find strength and purpose.
Gratitude requires practice. It’s not enough to wake up occasionally and be grateful. To live a life of gratitude requires continuous effort. It means being present and mindful and aware when you are grateful. When something you are grateful for appears, understand where and when it appears. Learn why it appears. Make these events part of your daily process. Acknowledge when they happen. Have an “Aha” moment and say, “I am grateful for this.”
Brené Brown, in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” said, “It seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works— it’s not alive.”
Be grateful today! Practice gratefulness to live a better life tomorrow!