I think gratitude is something that seems to slip away from us when things aren’t going the way we planned. I know that when I am in a tough season, it can be difficult to be thankful. But something that I have learned about gratitude is that it doesn’t have to depend on your feelings.
Ironically, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word gratitude as, “a feeling of appreciation or thanks.” But what if instead of the word ‘feeling’, we substitute it for the word ‘practice’. Gratitude is the practice of appreciation or thanks. Why is it important not to link this word with an emotion? Because gratitude expressed even when we don’t feel like it is often the gratitude that will change our perspective the most.
It’s important to remember that gratitude can coexist with other feelings. You can be sad, and still grateful. You can be mad, and still be grateful. You can be annoyed, and still be grateful!
So why is this practice so important? According to Psychology Today, expressing gratitude improves physical and psychological health, leads to better sleep, increases self-esteem, and increases mental strength. Gratitude is even linked to better heart health!
You can begin to develop a practice of gratitude by saying one thing you are grateful for right before you go to bed and right after you wake up in the morning. Writing it down is even better. Once you get into this habit, make a gratitude list every-day, so that in a few days, weeks, and years you can look back and remind yourself of all of the good things in your life.
Here is a list of 10 things that I am thankful for today.
1. My family and friends
2. My Church community
3. Good health
5. Listening to podcasts on my commute to school
7. My education
8. My coaching job
10. Cozy sweaters in the fall
It doesn’t matter how big or how small these things may seem to you. If you are grateful for them, write them down, and watch your perspective change!
Written By: Meghan Rosendale
Edited By: Crystal Lord