By Marisol Barrios Perez
November is typically a month we spend reflecting on our blessings and expressing our gratitude. I am no exception. I find myself taking a pause for the abundance I have received, for the hardships I may have encountered, and for the lessons learned throughout the year. Gratitude is defined by a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Earlier this month, I spoke with Asal Dean, gratitude coach and founder of Gratitude Grams, who shared a few tips on how to practice gratitude.
Everything is perfect. Simply put, gratitude practices can be expressed in a mantra, prayer, greeting card, in conversation, a journal entry, and a smile. How wonderful is it that we don’t have to procrastinate with doing it right when anything you do to express and show appreciation is gratitude! Sending a song or a throwback picture can be enough to put a smile on a loved one’s face. What will you do today?
There’s no time like the present. Being in a state of gratitude can be done at any time–in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Asal said that it’s nice to set up your day in the morning with gratitude. “You create a strong and positive mindset.” I personally prefer to take a moment in the afternoon, a perfect break in the day to take two minutes to remember to breathe and get a fresh perspective on something that has been stirring in my mind. Practicing gratitude in the evening or right before going to bed is a way to reflect on your day, the people you interacted with, and the food you shared with others. “There is no right or wrong way to practice a self-reflective experience,” Asal reiterates.
Shift your perspective. When you are experiencing a negative or uncomfortable situation, being mindful of the positive things in your life can be a way to shift your perspective. Look for ways to reset a negative mindset through gratitude.
What are the benefits of gratitude? Many studies have been conducted to research the benefits of gratitude. In an article entitled “Giving thanks can make you happier,” published by the Harvard Health Publishing, the Thanksgiving season can lift spirits with the simple act of expressing gratitude. The article states that positive psychology research shows a correlation between expressing gratitude with greater happiness. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
The holidays can be a depressing time for some people and the pandemic we are all experiencing this year can add to a sense of despair. Yet two things to remember: gratitude can make you happier and build strong relationships. Thanksgiving and the holiday season are times to lift yourself with expressions of gratitude and acts of kindness. In addition, sharing these thoughts and acts with others will lift their spirits too.
Today, I am grateful for faith, health, my family surrounding me, the ability to give to others, my husband who supports me in all things I do and dream about, my work family and business partner, and living the dream. What are you grateful for?