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November 24, 2021
When we are young, we learn that Thanksgiving is the time of year when we can think about all the things we’re grateful for. In classrooms, you may have made lists of things you were thankful for or went around the table at a family meal where members shared the highs of their year for which they were most appreciative.
It is most often that gratitude gets lost in our day-to-day lives. We do not remember to pause and think about what we are grateful for. Establishing a practice of gratitude will not only impact how you view yourself but the world around you.
It’s simpler than you think. Gratitude is an act of being thankful. We show gratitude by expressing appreciation for something. If you look back on your past and all the things that have gotten you to this point, you will most likely find at least one or two things you can feel grateful for. Gratitude also puts into perspective the human experience, that we are all made up of life events, some minimal and some very significant.
Gratitude first lives in our thoughts. How we view ourselves ultimately impacts our gratitude towards ourselves, others, and the world around us. When we positively express gratitude, we recognize something that has pleased us, not only physically but mentally. Taking a few minutes each day to write down something that we are grateful for causes a chemical reaction that trains our brains to look on the positive side and feel optimistic. Over time, the practice of gratitude causes us to become more excited, driven, and healthy-minded. Not only does gratitude take our minds off the things we can’t control, but it shifts our focus to appreciate what we can control.
Focusing on the negative parts of life is very distracting. We are so quick to feel down or let disappointments impact the rest of our days or weeks. Sometimes we dwell on them much longer than is healthy to do. Gratitude is a quick way to shift our focus off of negativity and realign us on a mental path where we can accept negative things will happen, but they don’t have to be all-consuming. Gratitude is a free coping mechanism that we can always take advantage of, a trusted tool we can consistently depend on, and a way to keep us empowered moving forward.
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