The opportunity to practice thankfulness seems to have no boundaries – even though it is often overlooked. Not only do opportunities amply avail themselves, scientifically documented benefits come along for the ride.
According to Forbes,
gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous.
As we hydrate for the holidays – I mean really be aware of and tap into filling our tanks before they get below the white line – here are a few inspiring benefits that accompany thankfulness:
- Gratitude opens the door to new relationship. Thank-you goes a long way. My grandmother always told us, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.” Well, how about FIND something nice and say it – specifically something of gratitude. Go one step further and find a way to thank a hard-to-love person in your life. You never know what might be on the other side of that. A simple thank-you with no expectations of one in return can be just the gentle word that needed to be heard.
- Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people
- AND psychological health. I’m not an expert, but I think it might have something to do with where our eyes are focused when grateful => not on ourselves.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression – something that could be very helpful with all the holiday-induced close quarters. Practice it today, so the long lines and traffic plus all that comes with it won’t get our blood boiling.
- 6 & 7 – produces better sleep, improved self-esteem and increased mental strength.
All things that can not only make our holidays (and every day) more enjoyable on a personal level, but might also infuse the season with its reason: Joy, Peace, Love.
Walking out of the Finley-Ewing Cardiovascular & Fitness Center where I swim laps (let’s just say I’m at least 25 years younger than most of the clientele) I loved what has been posted on the wall:
Most of the folks who exercise here are not doing it to be a certain size or to look a certain way. Many are rehab clients. Most are elderly. Rarely, if ever, do locker room conversations center around weight, muscle-increase, clothing size (or decrease there-of). No, it’s usually about the best brand of walker or sharing a roast recipe. Sometimes it’s about not knowing “how to work my that darn phone my daughter bought me!” (Seriously – I had to chuckle when I heard that one yesterday because that’s me with my mom – trying to get her to use an iPad instead of her laptop!)
The staff and trainers do such a terrific job meeting each “client” with respect and hope. They too know the power of gratitude. As of last week, a jar filled with blank leaves invites folks to write and share things for which they are thankful.
Thankful for kids, for health, for friends, for family, for love, for laughter, for food, for health (over & over), for “restocked candy jars”, for “all the nice people who work here” and “for life in Christ” (multiple times over.)
Such a great reminder from those who have lived enough life to know.
Need some practical?
Water Station: Taking Note, literally
Maybe we should take their cue and do the same thing – today.
For ourselves and the folks walking alongside. Consider putting blank cards/paper leaves in a jar for your house today – maybe keep a stack in the car and invite yourself, as well as passengers, to write down things for which you/they are thankful. When WWIII threatens to break out over something as big as getting to sit by the window, be that mom and have them write down something about the other person for which they are thankful. At best, peace will be ushered in and birds will sing. At worst, you’ve provided rehearsal dinner fodder for which they’ll laugh/complain, “Remember that time when Mom made us write down how we loved each other?!” – followed by fake groans and eye-roll laughter. [But we know they love it!}
Not crafty? Check out my friend Catherine McInnis’s terrific Treedition Tree. (Note: this isn’t a paid ad – I just like her stuff :)
She has the perfect leaves to help us take note. But it doesn’t stop there. Check out her Christmas line – plus lots of other meaningful ornament ideas to remind us of life’s important things – namely the people walking alongside.
Here’s to filling our tanks today, so we’re hydrated and ready to fully live tomorrow :) Thanks for walking the road with me.