By Barb Ward

The chaos and intensity of the world around us can seem overwhelming. But, if you can make yourself stop for a minute, take a deep breath, and think of the things you’re grateful for, you can settle your mind, change your perspective, and feel more in control. Practicing being grateful offers benefits in both your personal and professional lives by improving mental and physical health, creating stronger connections and friendships, and building stronger optimism and resilience skills.

It’s Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on your day and think of all the reasons you have to be grateful.

Here are a few possibilities for your list:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Faith
  • Health
  • Home
  • Food
  • Education
  • Pets
  • Job
  • Someone to share your life with
  • Weekends
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Sunshine 
  • Time

The list can go on and on, and now that you’ve started, why not start a list of your own? And, if you really want to reap the benefits of gratefulness, you can try the following techniques to deepen your awareness and spread the feeling of joy gratefulness brings.

Start a gratefulness journal. This allows you to consistently capture the things you are grateful for each day. Gratitude journaling can begin your day or be the last thing you do at the end of your day. It is as simple as jotting some of your fleeting thoughts and feelings down. 

Practice random acts of kindness. Doing something nice for others always pays dividends in how it makes you feel. Whether it’s paying for someone’s coffee at Starbucks, leaving a thank you note on a co-worker’s desk, or telling someone they look nice that day, random acts of kindness are an expression of gratitude that generates a sense of connection and caring.

Volunteer. Community services allows you to become part of something bigger than yourself. It allows you to share a common interest with others, develop new relationships and connection, while doing something worthwhile and valuable for your community.

Take a moment to be grateful for what you experience. It’s not always people and situations that make us grateful. It’s nature, our pets, and experiences we are privileged to be a part of. Appreciate those as well. 

We know gratitude is powerful. Making gratefulness a habit allows us to give and receive at a deeper level and to start conversations from a different place. Gratitude is a critical requirement in the foundation of emotional intelligence. It is more than just a reward or compliment. Gratitude, when authentically given, provides a pathway for creating trust, and building stronger relationships. In an organization, showing gratitude helps strengthen partnerships, and improves engagement, retention, productivity, and morale. Ultimately, in both your personal and professional lives, gratitude can lead to deeper relationships and loyalty with each other, which in turn gives you more fulfilment in your own life.