At the beginning of the month, we cited Dr. Emmons and what he has found are the two components of gratitude (1. there are good things in this world and 2. that the source of this goodness comes from outside of ourselves). Today, we want to focus on the act of practicing gratitude. The benefits of practicing gratitude include experiencing more positive emotions, sleeping better, expressing more compassion and kindness, and experiencing more life satisfaction. In his book, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Dr. Emmons shows that practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated. Actually, it only takes small acts to promote a feeling of gratitude.
Something that we’ve learned at BB360 is that making meaningful and long-lasting change takes small steps over a long period of time. We never go in expecting that our athletes or our coaches will learn everything at once. In essence, we enter each day with a sense of humility and are grateful for any change, movement, or time where it was tough enough to just show up to class. As you have already discovered if you’ve been following our blog (please say you have!), we are concerned about the development of the whole person. While we use exercise as a medium for building strength (inner and physical), we never forget that our athletes are people, not just objects who receive intervention. We find that this is too often forgotten and that reflecting with gratitude is what keeps things real!
Here are 5 ways to develop an Attitude of Gratitude:
- Start a gratitude jar. Every time you experience a deep moment of gratitude, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. On a special day (birthday, New Years Eve, etc.) read everything in the jar
- Start each day with finding 1 thing you are grateful for. Say it out loud in front of the mirror, in the car, to your cat/dog, or to a loved one.
- Serve. We know that service promotes gratitude in a direct way. This could be small (texting/calling a friend to provide some support) or big (volunteer work).
- Think of a person (vs. thing) you are grateful for and tell them.
- Keep a gratitude journal where you list all the things you have to be grateful for once a week.
Finally, we are grateful for our athletes, their families, each other, and you! Happy Thanksgiving!