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GRATITUDE – HOW TO LIVE A LIFE OF JOY

Tis’ the season sweet friend. The season where everyone does their best to shift their focus from what brings them misery to what brings them a grateful heart.  Why is it just this season? If gratitude is the key to happiness, why wouldn’t we KEEP our focused shifted?

I have an idea as to why- I believe we don’t make showing gratitude a key foundation part of our everyday routine, therefore it’s easy to forget and let our minds run elsewhere. Let’s change that, shall we? Follow along as we dig into how we can bring more joy into our everyday life by keeping our focus on being grateful.

GRATITUDE IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS
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THE POWER BEHIND GRATITUDE

If gratitude is the key to happiness, what is gratitude? Is it simply saying “thank you”? No, it’s more than that. Gratitude is a show of appreciation of the good things in their lives. When our thoughts are focused on the good in our lives our mind doesn’t have time to focus on the negative. 

There are many studies that back up the power behind gratitude. I am loving this article from Harvard Medical School: Giving thanks can make you happier. The study shows that gratitude brings happiness. Not only does it positively affect your physical health but also your mental, emotional, and relational. 

  • Gratitude and Physical Health – 

Think about it – no seriously (I know, it all comes down to the mind and what we allow into it). As we age it can be easier and easier to focus on how our body is deteriorating. When we allow this to happen all we can feel is the aches and pains that are happening more frequently. But when we shift our focus to what is not causing pain and what our body can do for us – aches and pains don’t seem so, well…painful. It’s true, grateful people take better care of their body. They see what it can do and show appreciation to the body by caring for it.

  • Gratitude and Mental Health – 

Gratitude is powerful when it comes to mental health. When we kick out the bad thoughts and invite in the good thoughts it allows us to lead a life more full of joy and appreciation. When we show gratitude the two power-house neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, are released into our body. They are proven to help us feel good and bring positivism forth. Just another reason gratitude brings happiness. 

  • Gratitude and Emotional Health – 

Emotional health is another area where showing gratitude proves its power. Dopamine and serotonin, as with mental health, work hand-in-hand to release into the body and create an elevation in mood. It is proven they are released when we show gratitude. When this power couple gets released into the body it can create a happier, calmer, more focused, and an emotionally stable being.

  • Gratitude and Relational Health – 

Haven’t you heard? People love being around happy and joyful people. One of my old friends from high school had this amazing momma. She was always smiling and positive. I wanted to be around her ALL THE TIME! Not only does gratitude bring us happiness but it also shows how powerful it is when we show gratitude to those around us. People love being appreciated. It’s not a secret. Showing our appreciation to others strengthens the relational bond.

 

WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Since we know from the research above that gratitude is the key to happiness, let’s talk about the ways we can give gratitude a more prevalent place in our lives. First, let’s drum up some ideas on how to practice gratitude on a day-to-day basis.

  • Journal – 

One of the most popular ways people are practicing gratitude is starting a journalism habit. Each morning I write down 3 things I am most grateful for.

  • Smile – 

I know I’m not the only one who has heard this – but if you just start smiling you will be happier. Did you know that? Try it! (Side note: if someone sees you smiling they are more likely to smile. A free way to spread the love!)

  • Volunteer – 

Helping others shifts your focus from self to others. Giving the thing most valuable to us, our time, is a great way to harness gratitude and be more grateful and happy in our lives.

  • Pray – 

You wanna know the real key to having a life full of joy? A relationship with Jesus Christ. A life devoted to Him is where it all begins. And prayer is the avenue of which we communicate with Him who has an unlimited source of joy to share!

  • Kindness – 

Random acts of kindness! One of my favorites! In line for coffee? Buy the person’s behind you. Shovel the neighbors sidewalk or clean off their car after a snow storm. Cook a meal for someone. The options are endless!

 

THE KEY TO GRATITUDE WELLNESS

If gratitude is the key to happiness and living a more joyful life, then what is the key to gratitude wellness? Routine, sister! If you didn’t know, I am big on ROUTINE! You gotta get in the habit, ya know? If something is a habit, good or bad, you tend to do it without a second thought. Check out this post to see how routine can make things run smoother.

So how does a gratitude wellness routine look? Here are three areas we need to focus on gratitude: gratitude for our body, gratitude where we work, and gratitude throughout our faith.

  • Gratitude For Your Body – 

Keeping up your physical health, or getting into shape, is one way to show gratitude for our body. The best thing to do is to create an exercise routine that will not only help us to gain and keep our strength but also one we will enjoy and one we can consistently do. Want a few ideas to get started? Get VIP access now to the workouts I have created!

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

  •  Gratitude in the Workplace – 

It’s all about creating a positive environment. Whether you are a supervisor or not, creating a place where people want to be is important. When we WANT to go to work, it can ripple positivity throughout other areas of our lives. A company that make showing appreciation one of it’s top priorities sees a higher amount of employee engagement and satisfaction. Also, it improves employee retention.

Is your workplace a…well, place…that you love going to everyday? If not, it can all start with you. With all the benefits of gratitude in the workplace, we want to do what we can to share them with those around us. How do we do that? Here are a few ideas:

    • Acknowledge small wins – sure, we didn’t meet our big goal but these are the things we did do or that did go right.
    • Thank those who have smaller roles – there are many roles in any  organization that are considered “back office”. Take a moment to write those people a “thank you” note for being a great support team!
    • Give back to the community you serve – volunteering as a group not only helps those you are serving but also fosters teamwork!
    • Start each staff meeting with a moment of gratitude
  • Gratitude in Our Faith – 

I saved the best for last here. Having a life of joy comes down to who we depend on for directing us, guiding us, and being our example. As a Christian we look to the example of Jesus Christ as a model of how we should act. Not only that, but shouldn’t God be the first person we show gratitude towards? Want help doing just that? Check out my very first contributing author post to the Kingdom Bloggers site!

There are many benefits to gratitude in the bible. It creates peace in our hearts, helps us to worship with passion, and helps us to spread the good news of the gospel boldly.

I have created a small study for you to help grow your gratitude practice. Let me know how you like it!

 

GRATITUDE IS THE KEY TO LIVING A LIFE OF JOY

There are many benefits to gratitude, many ways to show gratitude, and many places within our lives where gratitude is important. If gratitude is the key to happiness, and happiness is a by product of joy, and joy comes from knowing and loving Jesus, then how are we shaping up? Gratitude wellness is something we need to make a priority each and every day. Let us know a few ways you like to show gratitude or some new ways you may try. Share with us how you are going to make gratitude part of your everyday routine!

 

 

3 Comments

  • Fleda Bennie

    It has been so wonderful to see the KB team join together and proclaim the wonders of gratitude and giving thanks. If we make it a lifestyle, it changes our entire life and you pointed all of that out so well.

  • AnnMarie

    Another wonderful post on gratitude and I’m loving it! You laid it out so well, and it’s so inclusive for all areas of our lives. An intentional practice of gratitude has paid huge dividends in my life, and I’m only just getting started! Thanks for a great post!

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