Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 7: G is for Gratitude

   Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love seeing all of my family, eating lots of good food, and laughing and sharing stories at the dinner table. I love acknowledging the many blessings in my life. I love the atmosphere. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. So why can't every day be like Thanksgiving? There's no reason it shouldn't be.
   Did you know that gratitude not only improves your happiness, but also raises your self-esteem, improves your immune system, helps you overcome trauma, lowers depression, aggression, and anxiety, and improves your heart health.
   Even with all of its benefits, people still refuse to practice gratitude. You know who I'm talking about. The people who never seem to stop complaining about the tiniest things, the people who constantly talk bad about others, the people you try to avoid because of the bad vibes they're giving off. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be one of those people. I want to be so full of gratitude that people walk away from me feeling happier. I know that in an imperfect world, there are many things that can make you want to wallow in negativity. But it's so worth it to focus on the good in your life, rather than the bad.
   How exactly does one practice gratitude? There are many different ways, but I will share some of my favorites.

1. Saying thank you for the simple things. Your parents taught you manners, right? Say thank you when someone holds the door for you, when you order food, when someone compliments you. Not only are you building your gratitude skills, but you could also be making someone else's day.

2. Keep a gratitude journal. List 5, 10, or 20 things, moments or people that you are thankful for today. Ending your night in gratitude can actually help you sleep better.

3. Thanking God. One of my favorite quotes is, "What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday?" Wow. What if that actually happened? I would start thanking God a lot more. After all, everything good in our lives comes from Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for waking me up today. Thank You for my beating heart, my breathing lungs. Thank You for my health. Thank You for my beautiful home, my safe neighborhood, my wonderful family and friends. Thank You also for my burdens and crosses, because I know they are leading me to You. Thank You for giving me another opportunity to show others Your love today. Amen.