"Find the good and praise it.” — Alex Haley
Have you ever had one of those days where you find yourself critiquing everything in your life? You critique your job, the people in your life, lines at the grocery store, traffic, your house, etc. Worst of all you critique yourself: your body, your mind, and your soul.
Living in a world consumed by technology, it is easy to fall into the media’s marketing trap. You don’t have enough. Your life doesn’t compare. You should be smarter, prettier, skinnier, richer. Believing lies like this doesn’t help you though. They don’t cultivate positive relationships with the ones you love, and they definitely don’t encourage positive self-image and self-love.
Gratitude is not only important because your elders taught you to say “Thank You.” And gratitude is not just a way to be kind and appreciative.
Gratitude is actually crucial to your personal health journey; here’s why:
People who practice gratitude have lower stress levels, sleep better, and make healthier diet choices. They also tend to exercise more and get sick less often.
Grateful people also have a glass-half-full outlook on life. They don’t see their fitness and health journey as a negative, to-do list item, rather they celebrate small victories and give themselves grace on the hard days.
Practicing gratitude can be hard at first, especially if it is new for you. Gratitude journals are a great way to finish your day on a positive note. Instead of scrolling through social media and dwelling on what you’ve missed, spend your last few waking minutes scribbling positive notes about what you are thankful for.
Another tangible way to practice gratitude is to verbalize your thanks. We often assume people know what we are thinking. We spend a lot of our days hearing only what we can be doing better, leading us to more stress and discouragement. When you are grateful for someone, tell them. Was the cashier at the store kind? Thank him or her. Did your boss make a fresh pot of coffee? Say thank you. As humans, we need to know we are seen and appreciated. Spreading gratitude as often as we can will not only make others feel loved, but it will bring us joy too.
So even if it is a small step today—saying one genuine thank you out loud or scribbling a small note before bed—practice gratitude. We promise it will not only improve your physical health, but it will benefit your heart, mind, soul, as well as the world around you.