The Simple Practice of Gratitude

 17 Sep 2021  1050

“This is a wonderful day; I have never seen this one before.” This quote by Maya Angelou exemplifies the true essence of gratitude. The word gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus, which means thankful. Positive psychology research has shown a direct and consistent correlation between gratitude and greater levels of happiness.


The simple act of experiencing gratitude has a host of positive benefits. Experiencing gratitude can lower your stress levels and better your mood. It also increases self-esteem, leads to higher levels of optimism and improves your overall psychological and physical wellbeing. The attitude of gratitude seems simple and yet it is hard work. The need to want more and never be truly satisfied with where we are is ingrained in most of us today. When we reach goals that we have set for ourselves, after the initial elation, we are once again on the lookout for more. In this quest for larger goals we forget to stop and smell the coffee, we forget to celebrate our victories and appreciate the many little blessings in our everyday life. Gratitude teaches us that every cloud has a silver lining and that every problem is an opportunity to learn.


So how do we build this no cost and a little effort practice that is sure to make us happier? It’s actually fairly simple. You could get started by doing the simplest exercise of listing 5 things you are grateful for every day. Write them down in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be the big things in life like your house or car, it could be gratitude for a good night’s rest or gratitude for the home cooked meal you ate. Reflect on the little things in life that give you joy, give thanks for it and allow yourself a smile. Even when your situation is far from perfect and you are not where you want to be in life, if you have an attitude of gratitude and you give thanks for all things good in your currently not-so-good life I guarantee you that your life will improve. It’s such a simple activity that it becomes hard to believe that it could be the formula to greater happiness.  All I can say is, try it.


It’s so easy to complain and feel low thinking of all that is missing in your life. We often hear people say, if only I had this or that then I would be happy. But you will never get to that spot because there’s always something more to attain. Once you rewire yourself to look for the blessings, both big and small, your life changes. This is your starting point. You need to begin appreciating all the wonderful things around you, in your community and in your life.


Gratitude is an attitude, gratitude is a choice and gratitude is a habit!