Written by Francine Baffa, LICSW, BCBA-D
Edited by Joe DeNoon
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart
The holiday season can come with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. Yet for many, this time of year is tinged with sadness, anxiety, or depression. Fortunately, there may be an effective, and seasonally-appropriate, route away from those feelings that you can try: gratitude.
Research suggests that being grateful can bring about a shift in one’s mental perspective and uplift mood and spirit. Why is that so? Now, and every day, it helps to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’; it improves emotional and physical health, as well as strengthens relationships. Practicing gratitude helps us reorient the way we move about the world.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace. Being grateful helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals, by reminding them of the positive things in their life.
What do I give thanks for, privately, in my little gratitude session? It varies every day. I thank all the readers of this site, and I thank my loved ones, for all they do for me.
If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are some suggestions:
- Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for that day.
- Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you.
- Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think about something nice that someone did for you.
- Give thanks for “negative” things in your life. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times, we think of something as negative, yet that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way.
- Learn a gratitude prayer. There are many prayers, religious or not, that can remind you to be grateful.
A dear friend shared a quote with me, which I refer to often.
“The purest expression of our thanksgiving is quietly seen in our thanks-living”
Living with gratitude is an ongoing process. Each day offers new opportunities and means of expressing gratitude.
Some that come to mind are as follows:
- Being thankful to the person who helped you do an errand
- Being thankful for your good health and fitness
- Acknowledging your partner for taking the initiative to ease your workload
- Being grateful to yourself for all you do