This is the time of year when we think about all the things in our lives that we are thankful for. But what about all throughout the year? Cultivating the attitude of gratitude in all things helps to maintain a healthy life. Specifically, reducing our stress level.
Chronic stress has been known to cause all kinds of health issues. It’s something we need to be mindful of on a daily basis. Some stress is good for us in the way as it relates to the fight or flight response. However, the accumulation of stress on our bodies can result in a chronic condition if we don’t use coping mechanisms to manage it.
Having gratitude for all the good things in our lives also constitutes an air of positivity. People with positive attitudes are typically happier individuals. They understand how to turn a negative situation into a positive one, or a learning experience.
Everyone has good and not so good things happen to them, it’s just the way life happens. How you think about, and/or react to those situations, both good or bad, has an impact on your health.
Think about the warm feeling you get when someone does something special for you. It could be something little like, remembering your birthday by sending you a greeting card, picking up the check for lunch, or listening to you when you’re having a bad day.
You don’t have to wait for these situations to happen in order to bring on these wonderful feelings. Living in gratitude every day will promote these warm feelings and consequently reduce stress. Below are some strategies to proactively cultivate an attitude of gratitude. If you have others, please share them in the comment box below.
When you smile, it changes the way you feel no matter why you are smiling. Typically, when you smile at someone they will react with a smile in return. It’s a sort of reflex action for a lot of people. Try it and see how you feel. I bet it will lift your spirits. If you get a good feeling, you will remember that the next time you do it. After some practice, you will get into the habit and it will become second nature.
Writing down at least 3 things every day that you are grateful for, is another way to improve your health by reducing stress. This simple act provides a feeling of positivity when you think about the things that you write down.
Saying those 2 little words, thank you, to another person benefits both parties. It promotes positive feelings to each of you and strengthens your relationship. Sending a thank you note provides the same benefits.
Reframing refers to changing the way a thought, concept or idea is considered. Turning a negative into a positive is a way of reframing. Thinking about the positives, or being grateful for the good aspects of a situation is a good example and a tool to use when you get into a stressful situation.