Research shows that people who kept a daily gratitude journal were able to reduce symptoms of depression. People who can consistently connect with their deep gratitude often report feeling happy and there’s a couple more benefits thrown in there. Being able to find the good things, even when you’re in a mess, is an important skill that can help you improve your quality of life.
The good news is that you have so many opportunities to connect with this feeling. You can choose the option you think you are most likely to commit to each day. Give thanks in one way every day:
- Say Thank You – When the waitress brings you extra napkins, when someone helps you with your bags or when you notice your wife has done the dishes and made dinner after working all day, make eye contact and say thank you.
- Write A Note – Did Suzy go the extra mile to help you out at work? Or have you recently realized you wouldn’t be who you are today without your track coach? Write a thank you note telling them how much it meant to you and what you specifically appreciate. It is sad that the art of writing thank you notes has disappeared – almost to the point that the concept of thank you notes seem overly formal to most people, reserved only for fancy affairs like weddings. I’ve written many thank you notes to professors, work colleagues and friends over the years. I can tell you that none of the has said “Wow that was weirdly formal. Tweet me next time.” They have usually thanked me (positive feedback loop!) for taking the time to appreciate them. The only time I consider this too formal is when you don’t have an established relationship with the person, if you only met them once it might be great to send them an email.
- Give Thanks – Show your appreciation through actions. You might think about all those you appreciate and try to pay it forward. Maybe you give your daughter’s teacher a gift card for a mani/pedi. Or maybe you volunteer in your community. Maybe you shovel snow for a neighbor that agreed to help watch your kids last minute a few weeks ago.
- Live It – Each day take a moment to bathe in your gratitude. Some people like to keep a journal, a little notebook by the bed to record a few things they appreciated during the day. Other folks just add bullet points to a memo note in their smart-phone. There’s even an app for that. However you keep track, when you have a rough day you can reread lists of days past to remind yourself. It’s like an appreciation booster shot.