With Thanksgiving coming up, we all start to think of what we are thankful for. And while I love that the holiday brings out our thoughts of gratitude, it’s something that can benefit us all year.
I am forever a positive thinker. It’s like it’s ingrained in who I am which I am glad for because there are wonderful benefits to being a positive thinker.
In fact, this article from the Mayo Clinic listed these health benefits of positive thinking:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
As I think about being a positive thinker and being thankful, I think the two go hand in hand. You can be a positive thinker when you see all of the things in your life to be thankful for.
Creating an Attitude of Gratitude
Build the Habit
There are certainly times when it’s easier to be grateful, but if you can get in the habit of looking for things to be thankful for during the good times, it’s a lot easier to do when hard things happen.
It’s seems funny at first to make an effort at being grateful, but consistency and finding ways to build it into your routine will make it a regular part of your life after a while.
A great way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is to write down a few things you are thankful for each day.
If you write in a journal regularly you could just add that on to the end of a normal journal entry.
A lot of times when I journal it’s to rant about something frustrating. Ending my rant by forcing myself to seek out the positive parts of my day helps to let go of what has happened and see all of the good.
You can also purchase a gratitude journal. These usually include inspiring quotes, and writing prompts to help stimulate your thankful thoughts.
Talk About It – 3 Things per Day
When Austin and I were going through a really difficult period, I suggested that we talk about what we were thankful for each day.
When we were lying in bed each night, we would each list three things that we were grateful for that day. It helped me to end the day positively.
I tried to think of three very specific things for each day. I’m thankful everyday for our warm home and a enough food to eat, but I tried to dig deeper and think of things specific to that day to be thankful for, even if it was little things.
Today I’m thankful for the sun being out (not a regular occurrence in the fall in West Michigan), the blanket my mom knit for me that’s keeping me cozy while I work, and that we have the money saved for me to get my eyes checked tomorrow and get new contacts.
Listing what you’re grateful for each day would be great family-dinner conversation. It might even get your kids talking more about what’s going on in their lives.
When hard things happen it can be hard to see the good.
Sometimes it’s only when you look back a while later that you can see that bad things allowed for better things to work out.
When you have a rough day, make a point to look for something good.
It may just be that you’re grateful to have a place to sleep tonight and enough food to eat. Those might seem like the bare minimum to be thankful for, but there are far too many people that would love to have those things to be thankful for.