Saying thank you seems, at first blush, so very simple. We teach our children to say thank you over and over. As we age, mature and evolve into adulthood, we ungratefully change. Maybe we don’t want to feel indebted or disingenuous but saying thank you or expressing gratitude becomes more infrequent.
With more responsibilities we begin to worry about things going wrong and contemplate the implications when they actually do go wrong. Sometimes it seems like we can only notice how difficult life is. Soon we are so consumed by problems and issues that it really becomes hard to see when things go right. No gratitude there. To whom do you say thank you to when everything is all wrong?
This is particularly true if you have children who need special attention. Or if there is illness in the family. Or if you have a marriage or other relationship that demands extraordinary work to survive. If you share these challenges with friends they might recognize that you are overwhelmed and reinforce your feeling that your life is really bad, thank you. You start asking yourself, “thank you – for what?”
Why should you make a habit of saying Thank You?
But expressing gratitude is not for people who live the life of story book princesses. Expressing gratitude has the greatest benefits for people who are least accustomed to saying thank you. If you normally feel like all hell is either braking loose or might break loose soon then you can more easily turn your life around than the next guy.
You can teach yourself to get into the habit of feeling gratitude and saying thank you. But why go through the effort? Research shows that people who show, express or feel gratitude are happier, think clearer, sleep better and even have stronger immune systems.
Gratitude & Thank you: I can’t find the reasons!
“My life sucks!” you tell me. I have coached people who live with mental illness in their family or on themselves. Lives with terrible and unpredictable suffering. People who have lost the gratitude habit years ago. It can take some work to build up the skill of noticing reasons for thanks. It might start with a thank you for one day with a flare up. Or even gratitude for the time to get the laundry done. Maybe thanks for being able to enjoy a flower or a song on the radio. It is not really important what you notice and how major the positive event is. You want to teach your brain to be attuned to positivity. You want to train yourself to notice good things. As this skill grows the research shows that you will feel happier, healthier and stronger.
How can I train myself to say Thank You?
There are a few simple ways of acquiring the gratitude habit. Many people keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down three positive things that happened that day, and some reason why it happened. There are many places on the web that give instructions on how to keep a gratitude journal. Here is one good example, although while research has shown that three items per day is enough this site suggests journaling five reasons.
There are many other techniques. I will write details in future posts. Thank you.
Are you using a wordpress plugin form? Why not?