Sunday, March 16, 2014

Small Step Sunday: Say Thank You

The University of California, Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center "studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society." They are doing some great work, especially with studying gratitude. They've found that people who have a consistent practice of gratitude have lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, more compassion, more positive emotions, and less feelings of loneliness.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in the things that make us feel stressed and angry and like the world is unfair. I've had my fair share of those moments lately, but I try to balance them with gratitude. The key to reaping the benefits of gratitude is to practice consistently. The easiest way to do this is to make a point to thank someone every day. You don't even have to thank them in a way they are cognizant of or even choose someone you know personally.

When I remember I try to spend a few seconds before I start a meal thinking about all the people who made it possible for the food to be on my plate, and to send them my thanks. I like to practice gratitude at work and in social situations by thanking people for things they do that go above and beyond what would be expected (like holding a door or picking up random trash). I heard a podcast the other day where someone said they literally begin each day by laying in bed and thanking someone in their life. I think that's beautiful and it's so easy to do.

No matter how badly you think your moment is, there is likely something to be grateful for. Take a moment today to make yourself aware of that thing and to be thankful for it. Today I'd like to send my thanks to YOU for reading my blog.

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