Saying thank you is considered good manners, possibly to the point where it has lost its meaning for many people. Saying the words has become automatic much of the time, with little thought given to what it really means to be thankful. Well no more! It’s a great idea for all of us to get back to feeling true gratitude in our hearts, for not only will it fill us with spiritual and emotional well-being, it can actually have in impact on our health.
You may find this surprising, but there are numerous studies showing that practicing true gratitude benefits us personally, emotionally, and socially. It can improve our heath, enhance our sleep, and even benefit our careers. The key appears to be in expressing gratitude for people, relationships, and how they touch your life- as opposed to physical/material things per se. Too much focus on objects can lead to an unhealthy psychological state. A study conducted in 2006, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, concluded that materialism is often caused by insecurity and materialistic role models. Of course, having and enjoying nice things is totally okay and wonderful, but the key is to not get too attached or wrapped up in such things. Or think our self-worth lies in owning them, because it really does not.
Expressing thanks for the many blessings we receive each day, blessings that can easily go unnoticed if we don’t look for them, can improve our health and help us to create a more abundant life. In my third book The Beauty Detox Power I share with you extensive knowledge and research on how to tap into your True Power and give helpful information and tools for you to tap into your inner self. My Yoga Course and Empowerment Pack that launched earlier this week is an amazing set of tools for you to take your health, life and success to a new level !
Not convinced? Take a look at 7 ways you can improve your life by showing gratitude.
1. Thank Yourself
Sometimes it is easy to thank others, but we are still hard on ourselves. This is unhealthy and often due to a lack of self esteem. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend. You wouldn’t criticize, belittle or humiliate a friend, so why would you do that to yourself?
Instead of negative self talk, make the effort to recognize the positive things you do. Say, “I am thankful that I…” and list something you have done that is good for you.
“I am thankful that I have started focusing on eating a healthy diet.”
“I am thankful that I am taking the time to be more active outdoors.”
“I am thankful that I am focusing on getting better sleep.”
“I am thankful that I took the time to help someone today because now I feel wonderful!”
2. Thank Your Food
Does that sound odd? Think about it. When your diet is focused around healthy Beauty Foods, your body feels better. So shouldn’t you be thankful? Next time you sit down to a healthy meal, think about what each food will do for your body. Savor the flavors. Appreciate how you feel when you eat the things your body needs, especially in contrast to how you feel when you eat the wrong foods. Try eating in silence a few times a week and really take time to enjoy the taste and textures of your food. It’s really a beautiful practice to pause and give thanks in any way that feels authentic to you, right before eating!
3. Thank the Sun
This is especially important in winter months when we all tend to get a little less exposure to natural light. It is easy to take the sun for granted, but it is so important to our mental and physical health. It’s the giver of life. The sun comes up every day without fail and you may not give it much thought, but making time in your busy day to feel the suns rays is extremely important. It is important we remember to be grateful for that bright ball of fire above us.
The sun helps your body make vitamin D, which is essential for bone heath, a strong immune system, protection from brain aging and many other things. Sunlight kills harmful bacteria. It has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also be a natural cure for depression in some people. All of these are great reasons to be thankful!
4. Thank Your Senses
Have you ever considered what life would be like if you could not see, hear, taste, smell or feel? Even losing just one of these sense would mean huge changes for your life. Without the sense of taste, you couldn’t savor all the delicious Beauty Foods you eat each day. Every meal would seem the same. Without these sense of smell, you couldn’t take in the fragrance of a delicate flower and without sight, you couldn’t appreciate its beauty. If you couldn’t hear, you’d miss out of the joyful sounds of laughter and singing. You’d never hear your family tell you that they love you. With no sense of touch, you’d miss out on hugs and kisses among endless other wonderful things. With compassion, we can say that if you are already missing one of these senses, you’ve probably created a beautiful heightened sense of awareness through the other ones, which is also amazing.
Can you imagine life without these things? Try this. Next time you enjoy a meal, the company of a loved one or anything else that involves your senses (because doesn’t everything??), take a moment to be thankful for being able to experience these thing. Not just the moment, but the feeling. The senses that allow you to truly enjoy the moment.
5. Thank Your Teachers
Your teachers are not just those who conducted your classes in school. They are the people who provide every learning moment in your life. This can be friends, co-workers, even your children. And they may not even realize that you learned something from them. Your teachers can be your favorite novels, writers or heroes. Anyone who inspires you deserves a moment of gratitude. So next time you have an “a-ha!” moment, thank the person who made it happen. You will more fully appreciate what you have learned, and they will most certainly appreciate that you took the time to say thank you.
6. Thank Your Partner
A 2010 study published in Personal Relationships showed that everyday gratitude expressed to your partner can strengthen romantic relationships. This isn’t just about thanking your partner for a special gift, but about noticing little things that make your life more pleasant.
Another study from 2012, published in Social and Personality Psychology Compass, concluded that “gratitude serves the evolutionary function of strengthening a relationship with a responsive interaction partner .”
For example, thank your partner for working hard at a job, getting you a cup of coffee, taking out the trash, or just being there to listen when you need someone to talk to. Taking the time to look for things to appreciate will make you feel more happiness and satisfaction with your partner. It will also help your partner feel better and more inclined to do more because efforts made are actually appreciated instead of taken for granted. It’s a winning situation for both of you!
(This also applies to friendships and family any key people in your life!)
7. Thank Your Enemies
Does that sound strange? It is often said that when you don’t like someone, it is because they mirror something in yourself that you don’t like. So look deep and think about what it is in yourself that you might be able to change. Or think about what about yourself you may need to forgive or let go of.
The Greek philosopher Antisthenes once said “Observe your enemies, for they first find out your faults.” If you take this to heart, you can learn from those whom you consider to be enemies. You can learn where you need to make improvements in your own life. And there is always room for improvements. Strive to always make improvements because this is how you grow.
There are so many things that we can be thankful for in our lives. This list is just the beginning. What do you do to show gratitude? How has gratitude made your life better? The more you reflect on gratitude the better you will feel every day! It’s really the truth, and something I’ve definitely experienced firsthand in my own life. Gratitude will make you a more beautiful person, inside and out.