Making Gratitude Come Alive

“I practice gratitude every day.”
“I’m grateful for my life.”
“I have a new boyfriend/house/car/etc., because I’m grateful.”
“I am grateful for our friendship.”

These are all expressions of gratitude. But they’re just words.

While “thanks” is something we hear nearly every day, we rarely see expressions of gratitude put into practice on any sort of regular basis.

Expressions of gratitude

Some examples of expressing gratitude include:

~saying thank you on more than just social media, eyeball to eyeball
~showing someone you value them by returning a favor
~taking care of others
~taking care of yourself
~celebrating that for which you are grateful
~sharing your bounty with others
~honoring your good fortune by paying it forward
~acknowledging the role others may play in your abundance
~performing random acts of kindness

Doing more than just speaking theoretically about gratitude will deepen and expand its benefit in our lives.

Sometimes we don’t see a physical manifestation of the benefits of being grateful, but those benefits are there … in our bodies, affecting our health and wellness. I’m not going to spew out the numbers and percentages about heart rates, blood sugar levels, or stress levels. You’ve heard them before. What’s important is to really let it sink in:

Practicing gratitude every day can make you happier and healthier.

It’s easy to complain about unhearing doctors, medical costs, chronic pain, or anxiety. But why not try exercising a consistent expression of gratitude by trying one of the examples above? Doing so changes the chemical structure of our brains, chasing stress away and making us kinder, more patient, more appreciative. Name a medicine that does all that!

Seeing the power of something so simple as acknowledging the abundance in our lives can be hard. Sure, we can talk about all the good we have when chatting with friends, or as a way to make it look like we’re not bragging about something wonderful that happens to us. “Yes, I’m truly grateful that I made space in my life for a new loving partner,” or “I got that new car because every day I wrote in my gratitude journal that I was grateful for my old clunker.” Sound familiar? It’s called humble bragging.

Many of us know the power of a regular practice of meditation. For me, it’s about letting go of the monkey mind. But you hardly ever hear anyone say, “Yes, my new job is just fabulous, and I’m glad that meditation brought it to me.”

Look at Gratitude Differently

If we don’t brush and floss, our teeth will fall out. If we don’t drive the speed limit, eventually we’ll receive a very expensive ticket.

While there are no dire outcomes of failing to outwardly acknowledge our gratitude, the results can be just as catastrophic. Put another way, spending the same amount of time being grateful as we do brushing and flossing, does benefit us and does amplify the well-being in all aspects of our lives.

In addition to remembering that gratitude resides within us, expressing that gratitude in a more physical way, like saying “thank you” in person or like paying it forward, keeps a stronger sense of appreciation at the forefront of our lives.

Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash