Giving gratitude and having thanks

Gratitude. Such a simple, powerful and important part of life. The list of health benefits for being grateful and having thanks for big and small moments in life is endless. It’s the time of year where many of us begin thinking about everything we are thankful for. Although it’s good to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being grateful throughout the year can have tremendous benefits on your quality of life. In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time to do and the benefits are huge.

I became more aware of the benefits of being grateful a few years ago when I realized the positive effects it was having on my mental health. I suffered on and off for years from depression and anxiety. It was really when I got focused on having a regular routine of meditation and yoga when my ability to be more grateful increased. Surrounding myself with positivity has helped a lot. Let’s face it, we are living in turbulent times and people are suffering from stress and fear about the future, but by practicing gratitude for all the good things that life has to offer can lift you up and help. Even if you’re in a huge dark cloud, there is always a silver lining where you can find things to be thankful for. It may even be the perfect opportunity for personal growth and healing. Perhaps you lost your job and then out of the blue an amazing opportunity lands on your lap that is even better than what you had. Doors close and bigger doors open at times of change and transition. Change can be hard and uncomfortable but when you practice gratitude it can ease the discomfort and help to trust that it’s only temporary and things always shift and change. It’s up to you to make it positive instead of bringing you down.

Writing and learning about haiku has helped me in the healing process and continues to help me to be present, practice awareness and have gratitude on a daily basis. It’s become a part of my everyday life just like brushing my teeth. Haiku poetry is about feelings that can sometimes offer small insights into nature and human nature. It’s about putting moments from life into words to convey or suggest a feeling. This can be a range of feelings from sorrow and longing to happiness and joy. Haiku is about implying a feeling without telling the reader directly what the feeling is. We all strive for joyful moments and need to remind ourselves that joy can be felt in the smallest of sweet moments which with awareness we can be grateful for.

What are you grateful for? Make a list of at least 10 things in your life that you’re grateful for.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

Here 7 health benefits of practicing gratitude:

1) Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
2) Gratitude improves physical health.
3) Gratitude improves psychological health.
4) Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
5) Grateful people sleep better.
6) Gratitude improves self-esteem.
7) Gratitude increases mental strength.

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