practice gratitude in wood typeGratitude has recently experienced an up-spring of attention due to the work of Dr. Martin Seligman and other pioneers of positive psychology. Research has found that expressing gratitude to others is associated with happiness and better overall well-being. It can also boost our own optimism and positive thinking and sense of connection with others.

How can I express gratitude? According to an article on Entrepreneur, here 5 ways we can give gratitude everyday:

1. Write in an abundance journal.

2. Express your gratitude in person.

3. Show respect for those around you.

4. Don’t complain.

5. Volunteer in your community.

Click here for the full article.

Why are these activities helpful? Expressing gratitude and engaging in grateful behaviors help us by switching from our usual self-orientated perspective to a broader, external one. This changes which parts of our brain are being activated, impacting how we think and feel (in a good way!). With a society packed with marketing, we are constantly being bombarded with advertisements about things we do not have and sent a very clear message that we need them. Research has even found that women have lower self-esteem and confidence after looking at fashion magazines. As a result, we are constantly “consuming” and do not appreciate the gifts that we have been blessed with. Let’s debunk the false myths that happiness is found in a bottle, box, or shopping bag, and engage in gratitude to make the day for those that we love and care about (including ourselves!).

“It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.” ~ Unknown