Benefits of Gratitude
What are you thankful for? This question used to be one that was posed less frequently, right? Maybe just when sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner or a special get-together with family. But these days, things seem different. In fact, “gratitude” has become somewhat of a buzzword…it really has. And that’s a REALLY good thing. Positivity is powerful. It creates physical and social benefits (in addition to psychological benefits) we may not even be aware of. So, we wanted to share some reflections on gratitude as we head into the holiday season.
When Team Busbee sat down to think about what we are most grateful for, not surprisingly many of our answers were nearly identical. Connection. Family. Children. Our faith. And (worth noting)…each other. This team is unlike most. We truly value, support, and respect each other in the most genuine way. No wonder we’re all thankful for each other! As Joy put it, “I am blessed to work with people who lift each other up daily. I grew up the only girl in my family but I’m thankful I have a bunch of sisters now!” Being grateful for the big things in our lives has become something most of us don’t take for granted. But for this post, we’re taking a deeper dive into gratitude.
If you are dealing with Holiday stressors (like so many of us are!), this post will offer some enlightening, simple, take-action practices!
What Good Is Gratitude?
Positive emotions like gratitude don’t need to be saved for the BIG things in life. In fact, recognizing smaller (even seemingly insignificant) moments of gratitude is healthy for your brain and body. Did you know that positive thought patterns are associated with stronger immune systems, better sleep, fewer body aches and pains, and a host of other physical benefits? And socially, positivity can make you more compassionate and understanding. So, the idea is to train your brain to feel gratitude in more ways, for more things…big and small.
More Physical Benefits of Gratitude
- Improved cardiac function
- Regulates the stress hormone, cortisol
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced depression
- Lower levels of inflammation
When Feeling Grateful Is Hard
Let’s face it, even though we know the benefits, we still have those days (even months). And it’s important to note there IS room for all of your conflicting emotions. Feeling grateful doesn’t mean magically ignoring your sadness, anger, anxiety, and frustrations. Giving validation to those feelings is also important. But those emotions can coexist with gratitude and create a balance in your brain. Gratitude is a practice (like moving your body, eating healthy, or remembering to take your vitamins). And like most practices…it takes, well, practice! Over days and weeks, your positive mindset can improve your overall well-being. So, you really have nothing to lose by trying to incorporate it into your life…daily. Trying to find it each and every day is honestly pretty freaking rewarding!
Gratitude In Its Simplest Form
Our team is sharing with you the little things we are grateful for in hopes that you too can recognize these smaller gracious moments in your own life. Noticing small things daily and finding your way into the slow lane (for at least a few moments each day!) can uncomplicate the gratitude process.
I am thankful to wake up to smiles on my children’s faces every morning… for our cozy days at home baking sweet treats, dancing in the kitchen, laughing over silly antics, reading quietly together, and snuggling at night under a mountain of blankets. It’s with every precious hug they give that my heart truly overflows with thankfulness.
I am thankful that I have the ability and the mindset to always try new things. While there is always some anxiety associated with stepping out of our comfort zone, being spontaneous has never led me wrong. This can be something as small as trying an unfamiliar food or traveling to a far-off destination.
I am thankful for the unprompted “I Love You” from my kiddos. I know my kids mean it when they repeat back to me, “I love you too”, but when they say it all on their own… it makes my heart so happy.
I’m thankful for those warm cozy nights during this time of the year when I get to curl up on the couch with my husband and a fuzzy blanket, cuddle our pup, light a candle, and enjoy a nice glass of wine while watching Christmas movies. That feeling that can only be described as “warmth” is something I love and am so thankful that I get to enjoy. It’s all about the little things!
I am thankful for the ability to see things through my toddler’s point of view. Stopping to listen to a bird sing a beautiful song, taking the time to say “hi” to everyone we pass by at the grocery store, feeling true joy from the simplest things in life can instantly bring gratitude for the littlest things.
For years I was often too busy to stop and enjoy the sunset. We have a west-facing balcony so sunsets over the ocean are truly spectacular. I decided to make it an intentional habit this year. Taking the time to sit in stillness and take in the stunning colors either alone or with my family (including the pup!) brings me tremendous gratitude!
Your turn! What are you grateful for? We’d love to hear from you so please leave us a comment below. And before we forgot…at the top of our list, we are grateful for YOU. Thank you for being here!
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