Gratitude as a Way of Life

Life Coach’s Corner
By Liz Adam

October is the month the official Thanksgiving holiday happens for Canadians but gratitude is something that’s great to make part of our daily thoughts and words year-round.

Two simple words “Thank You” can go a long way for the person who hears them as well as the person who says or even thinks them. Developing an attitude of gratitude creates some beneficial “by-products” that have been studied and scientifically documented.

*Gratitude is good for relationships.

Being grateful for and saying thank you to the people you live and work with makes relationships more harmonious and enjoyable.

*Gratitude is good for your physical health.

People who feel grateful report less pain and tend to feel healthier than those who aren’t grateful. They exercise more and are more likely to care for their bodies well.

*Gratitude is good for your emotional well-being.

Practising gratitude results in the lessening of many toxic emotions including jealousy, resentment, frustration and regret. Research has confirmed that grateful people experience less depression and more joy.

*Gratitude makes us better people.

In a social study, participants identified as grateful were more likely to be kind toward others, even those who were not kind to them. They were less likely to retaliate or seek revenge. They felt more compassion toward people who are suffering.

*Gratitude increases mental strength.

War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Being aware of all we have to be thankful for during the difficult times in our lives gives us the mental reserves and resilience to have the strength and endurance to cope instead of complain.

*Gratitude can help us sleep better.

Try ending the day focussing on what you can be grateful for instead of what you might be worried about or what you need to do.

While I was researching for this column I found so many great quotes on gratitude that I decided to end by letting the words speak for themselves:

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”       Willie Nelson

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”                                           Germany Kent

“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.”                                                   Doris Day

“Gratitude is the ability to experience life as a gift. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation.”                                                                                     John Ortberg

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”           Voltaire

“The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.”                                                                                                              Douglas Wood

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”                                                                                                        G.K. Chesterton

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”                                                                                                                       Amy Collette