Gratitude is a powerful emotion. If effects our minds, body and health. However, it is not an instant emotion. We have to make a conscience effort to apply gratitude and thankfulness in our lives.

     The other day I visited my child’s classroom. It was at the end of the day and I was a little early so I stood outside the classroom and waited. The teacher was asking each of the students what their gratitude of the day was. I thought this was so wonderful and beautiful!  It was amazing to listen to the children state their personal gratitude. It was not just about material things. It was about being grateful for improvements in math, seeing an act of kindness, and for gestures of friendship on the playground. Afterwards, the teacher stood at the door and shook each child’s hand and wished them a wonderful evening. The 10 minutes it took to do that set the tone for each child for the rest of the day.  Everyone who left that classroom felt valued and appreciated. Practicing gratitude not only helps our emotions, it actually helps our bodies.

Gratitude, thankfulness, mindfulness whatever you want to call it is very important to our health and well being. Conscientiously choosing to slow down and reflect on positive actions reduces our heart rate, slows down our flight and fight responses and all of that helps us sleep better.  A person who gets enough sleep is a much happier person overall.  Because we have to stop and make time to practice gratitude, I thought I would include a list to help you get started. It does not have to be a complicated activity. You can practice in your car during rush hour traffic, or sing them while in the shower. It is a portable, water resistant activity that will enrich not only your life, but will spill out onto others around you.
Seven ways to practice gratitude
1.  Start your morning with a gratitude. -It can certainly be about your coffee.

2.  Write a list of 5 positive things -If you day is turning out to be particularly difficult, stop and make a list to help shift your focus from the negative to the positive.

3.  Eliminate a complaint -when that person is on your LAST nerve, stop and think something positive about that person instead of complaining about them.

4.  Beautiful items-place a beautiful item (personal to you) where you can see it.  Take a minute to look at it and enjoy it’s beauty.

5.  Turn an ungrateful thought into a positive one  -make the situation work in your favor.

6.  Thank someone -write a thank you note or buy thank you stickers and share it with someone.

7.  End your day with gratitude  -at the dinner table with your family, while walking the dog or even while you are sitting in your easy chair with your feet up. Reflect on your day and be grateful for the fullness of it.