“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” -William Arthur Ward
Thanksgiving is a catalyst for many to reflect on what they're grateful for. While this is great, I've discovered the power in expressing gratitude year round--beyond this designated day. I'll tell you about the easy gratitude exercise that has changed my perspective for the better in just a bit, but first let me tell you about the benefits of seeing through a thankful lens.
Oprah sums it up in her new book "What I Know For Sure," when she says:
"Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life..."
In addition to changing your life, gratitude is great for your well-being. Dr. Lawrence Rosen explains in his MindBodyGreen article, it reduces depression, helps you sleep, makes you feel peaceful, and is great for your heart & brain.
Do I have your attention yet?!
Okay, here comes the really good part... expressing gratitude doesn't have to be difficult! Simply saying or writing down 5 new things you're thankful for at the end of each day can make a huge difference. Oprah, who has kept a gratitude journal for years, inspired me to do this exercise. I figured if it's good enough for the Queen of Talk, it's good enough for me!
In the past, incredible things would happen during my day and would often be erased from my memory. Now I consciously recall the positive moments on paper and realize how many blessings happen each day. Even if there is stress, anger or disappointment sprinkled into my day, those negative feelings slip into the background and a feeling of peace takes over--thanks to this exercise.
The other incredible change? After I covered the big things I was grateful for the first week (like my health, family, career, etc.), I'd really have to look beyond the obvious and actually search for things to be grateful for. What a great idea, right? Searching for the good in our day! And, I never fail to find 5 new things to appreciate.
Here is an example of one of my recent lists (from when I went to an apple orchard in Oak Glen, CA):
-Eating a delicious caramel apple
-Discovering a new quaint town in California
-Spending quality time with my fiance
-The friendly cashier woman
-The means to take a day trip
See, it can be really simple stuff! And although I think having a designated journal to write the items down is best, some days I just say the 5 things out loud or write them down in my iPhone. It's not about doing this exercise perfectly. It's about have an attitude of gratitude on a regular basis.
So in light of Thanksgiving being right around the corner, perhaps give it a try... It just might change your perspective!