This is the time of year when we start to talk about thanks and thanksgiving (because, well… it’s time for Thanksgiving!). But the idea of “thanksgiving” is more than a holiday or a family celebration — and it’s something we can practice all year round.
What is gratitude?
“Gratitude” is more than just saying the words “thank you” (that’s just good manners). It means truly being grateful for the good things in your life and being willing to express that thankfulness. Even when times are hard, you probably have a lot to be thankful for — a warm home, a loving family, a great teacher, friends who care about you, experiences you’ve had, places you’ve been, special memories, things in the future to look forward to (like Summer 2021 at LBMC!).
Just like a muscle, gratitude gets stronger with practice! Get in the habit of expressing your appreciation, and soon you’ll find yourself spotting the good in almost any situation.
Why does gratitude matter?
Besides living out the Angel Code value of Beauty, gratitude has scientifically-proven benefits! Researchers have found that gratitude can lead to better physical and mental health, more friendships, even better sleep!
A gratitude mindset also makes it easier to bounce back when you experience difficulties. (This is known as “resilience.”) When you focus on looking for the good, you’re building up emotional strength that helps make you more resilient so you can get through tough times.
And of course, when you express gratitude to other people, you’re making them feel good, too — so your gratitude mindset can have a positive ripple effect!
How do I practice gratitude?
Practice makes progress. That’s true of anything you want to get better at, from sports to school to music — and that includes gratitude! Try making gratitude a daily habit. If you keep a planner or diary, dedicate a little corner of each page to writing down something you’re thankful for. Or leave yourself a note on the bathroom mirror to remind you to think about what you’re grateful for while you brush your teeth. (Maybe you’ll even start brushing longer!)
Here are some more fun ideas to help strengthen your gratitude muscle: