It is the beginning of a New Year and so commences the age-old tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. What if you added the phrase “To be more Grateful” to your resolution list? Believe it or not, it can positively impact both your health and your relationships.
According to Psychology Today, there are several benefits in choosing to speak and think with gratitude versus our go to mindset of complaining. For instance, being more grateful improves our relationships with others. Thank you notes, a brief call, even a text message offering thanks can strengthen an old relationship and solidify a new one. Recently I had a baby shower, and thus the task of writing thank you notes. My mind instantly went to, “Well I did thank them at the shower?” nevertheless, with an attitude of gratitude as I began to write each letter, and as I did, I felt happier and even more loved.
Another benefit to being grateful includes improving both our physical and mental health. As for our physical health, when we pay attention to our thoughts, and feel grateful for even the air that we breathe or the food we are consuming, we are more likely to stay on top of our physical health, attend doctors’ visits, and exercise more. Versus complaining of a bad back, being too tired, not being motivated. It’s all in what we say to ourselves. As for mental health, the same theory applies. If we can shift our mindset to be thankful for what we have versus focusing on jealousy, resentment or regret, we will have an overall healthier mental wellness.
So how can we incorporate gratitude into our everyday life? Well, most of us have phones. There are several gratitude apps that can send you daily reminder to jot down what you are thankful for that day. Or if you are more tactile, you can utilize a gratitude journal or diary to physically write it down. We can encourage our family to participate to speak up about what we are thankful for, this can be a dinner ritual or part of the morning or nighttime routine. Have your child write thank you notes to family members and friends, even to their teachers just to say “Thank You”. This also helps build your child’s sense of empathy.
Other ideas can be reading books to your child about gratitude, making a gratitude jar, baking or creating things for another person to spark joy and thankfulness. Just a few minutes a day of recalling what you are thankful for can start to change you from the inside out.
Have a happy and thankful New Year.
Angela Fusco, LMHC
Owner of Phases of Healing, Counseling and Therapy LLC
St. Augustine, FL
Credits: Morin, Amy. What Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude. Psychology Today, April 3, 2015.