As you sweat off those Christmas pounds in the gym striving for good health and fitness, consider activating another lesser-used muscle: gratitude. While not a physical muscle, practicing gratitude on a daily basis will strengthen your mental health and actually make you happier.
Like the muscles in the body, the more you use it, the more it will grow and the more purpose it serves. Our capacity to draw on the things we are thankful for is infinite. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything, to feel, to bring presence to the moment and be mindful of our own authentic journey.
Gratitude allows us to rediscover all that we have in our lives already. Think of gratitude as a positive feedback loop. If we wake up in the morning with a grateful heart, our capacity to be grateful for more things will only continue to increase, making us feel more grateful. In turn, gratitude allows us to feel more positive emotions, relish in happy moments, promote optimism and create healthier relationships.
When we practice the gift of gratitude on others, it allows us to be more open and accepting of the joy it brings when others share its gift with us.
Throughout 2019, take time to slow down, to be in the moment and all its sensations. Practicing gratitude is a conscious lifestyle choice, and it can be the foundation toward happiness. Make use of your gratitude muscle. The action of its gift will not go unnoticed, and you are sure to experience it in return.
Here are some suggestions to help you flex your gratitude muscle:
- Include an act of kindness everyday
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Become a volunteer
- Spend time with friends and family
- Appreciate everything, even your challenges