It helps to see Gratitude as a choice. We get better at this superpower and absorb its many benefits when we make it a daily practice. Taking stock of the many people, experiences, and things that are good, right and working well in our lives has an uncanny way of attaching more good. What we focus on grows.
Is there any substitute for a hand-written note or card of appreciation? Email, texts—they work too. It’s a matter of taking the time to express something beyond the generic, and truly personalizing your authentic gratitude. What comes from the heart goes to the heart. When you share your appreciation for someone’s unique qualities or specific impact on your life, you make yourself and the ones you care about happier.
Use this powerful phrase to reframe the ordinary “have tos” you might otherwise view as burdens or bland checklist items. We all “get to” be here on this planet in the first place—so much of our experience depends on how we choose to view it. Try placing a jar on the kitchen counter at home, and anytime someone gets caught saying, “I have to . . .” they need to put a dollar in the jar for groceries. Do the same at the office for beer money or a donation to your favorite cause. Gratitude adjustments will follow.
A natural time for us to pause and give thanks is before we share a meal together, whether it’s a sandwich or a home-cooked feast. Take a few deep breaths, hold hands if you like, and share some things you’re grateful for. It helps diffuse stress, reconnect with each other, and prepare our bodies to enjoy whatever vittles lie before us.
This article is excerpted and adapted from the book Life is Good by Bert and John Jacobs, published by National Geographic on September 1, 2015. Copyright © 2015 The Life is Good Company.