Recently, I participated in a webinar, ‘Gratitude: A Skill for Happier Living’, presented by Jim O’Connor of the ComPsych Corporation, a world leading provider of employee assistance programmes, including ours as Medline. The session explored the reasons we should all take a moment, reflect, breathe and strive to live rather than exist, and do so with a deliberate positive outlook. I would like to share some of what I now understand and think you might find useful.
What is gratitude?
It feels normal to describe it as a ‘muscle’ of appreciation, thankfulness and kindness that—like some of our other muscles—needs training. It is also an attitude that we have to work extra hard to have. Experts have even linked exercising gratitude to success (see Forbes), happiness (see TED) and healthy living (see Harvard Health Publishing).
Gratitude can help us to:
Build personal resilience, reduce stress and feel more in control
Improve our various relationships and feel more connected to others, optimistic and satisfied
Develop a positive outlook on the global situation (e.g. like now with COVID-19), and avoid using what’s wrong in a moment to define our entire existence
Discover and appreciate how far we’ve come (reflection on ourselves then vs. now)
Cope better with trauma (not a fix-it-all solution of course)
9 tips to be more grateful
Now that we know what it is and can do for us, here are nine tips that can help us remember to be grateful in our daily lives.
Commit to 10 days without complaining. If you must complain, set a time limit (e.g. 1 minute – after that time expires, you don’t get to talk about ‘it’ anymore).
Develop a routine that you enact every morning (self-affirmations – e.g. ‘you is kind, you is smart, you is important’ [It’s the exact line from the movie, The Help. Do you remember it?]).
Support a cause that can help you build gratitude for life, yourself and others.
Compliment someone and be specific about what you appreciate or are thankful for
Try to not forget to say ‘you’re welcome’ when someone thanks you for doing something for them.
Use a pros and cons list if you struggle with finding positivity in a bad situation (what would this negative thing change in your life when you wake up tomorrow?)
Keep relativity in mind; there is always someone else less fortunate.
Close your eyes and breathe in and out until you begin to think about nothing and feel lighter (It really does work!).
Smile with yourself more.
So, will you promise yourself to start training your newly discovered muscle today? You can thank me later!
Yohan Lee English Copy Editor and Copy Writer, Medline Europe
Yohan is a Jamaican expat based in the Netherlands. Writing is ‘One Love’ that he explores through general business copywriting, and poetry. His educational background is in journalism, gender and development, and media and globalisation. Learn more on LinkedIn.