When was the last time you said a heartfelt thank you to someone just because they carried out an unselfish act that you didn’t necessarily benefit from?
We’re all too used to casually saying thanks to anyone who does something for us, even if it’s as trivial as opening a door, or passing something to you. We just accept this as ‘good manners’.
But what about all the actions that go unnoticed and the things in our life that we take for granted, of which there are many. For example when did you last say thanks or give a silent thanks for the following:
- A nice sunny day or beautiful view
- The warmth and comfort of your home
- Your partner making your morning tea or coffee
- Your children getting ready for school on time
- A seat on the train or bus on your journey to and from work
- Someone giving way to you while driving when they didn’t have to
There are many occasions throughout the day we could give thanks for which we don’t acknowledge. But giving thanks has far greater benefits than you could imagine.
Benefits of gratitude
Gratitude is good for your mental health. It's a great feeling to have someone, especially someone who doesn't stand to gain, tell us that we made a difference in their lives. Being thanked and having a reason to thank others are two sides of the same gratefulness coin. Both exemplify the positive in human behavior and provide us with a positive charge that boosts our emotional balance.
Expressing gratitude in your daily life might even have a protective effect on staving off certain forms of psychological disorders. Researchers have found that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychological illnesses.
How to be grateful
Writing a thank you note may sound like a simple task, but many people put it off and then not bother as it becomes too late. Whether it’s by email, text, social media or a hand written note, it should be brief and sincere, as some people can become embarrassed or uncomfortable by receiving an ‘over the top’ acknowledgement of their good deed. But make the effort, both parties will benefit!
An effective way of maintaining a sense of gratitude is by keeping a ‘Gratitude Journal’. This can be a regular reminder of all the things that are good in your life and it can help you to stay in a positive frame of mind. You could write in it either daily or weekly, a note of the things and people in your life you are grateful for. This could relate to daily occurrences that take place or just be a reminder that whatever is going on in your life, there will always be something or someone to be grateful for, even if it’s just your health and well-being!
PUBLISHED: 17 SEPTEMBER 2015