My mother wrote at least three thank-you notes every day of her adult life. I asked her once what she did where there was no one to thank. She fixed me with that mom look and said, “Wally, there’s always someone to thank.”
Mom had that “attitude of gratitude” that we hear about so much, but she had something more important. She had the practice of gratitude.
Attitude is fine, but it’s invisible. It lives inside your head where no one but you can see it. The real benefits of gratitude don’t kick in until you start practicing gratitude habits.
Gratitude is good for you
Gratitude helps you stay on an even keel, even in stressful situations. Gratitude helps keep you grounded and humble. Expressing gratitude can help strengthen the bonds of social support.
Write your gratitude
Writing helps you concentrate on the things you’re grateful for. It helps you understand how many things you have to be grateful for.
Keep a gratitude journal. Note the things that you’re grateful for. Then, don’t just think about those things, savor the memory of them.
Write thank-you notes and emails. You don’t have to match my mother’s three-notes-every-day standard, but take the time to write. Handwritten notes are especially powerful.
Speak your gratitude
Thank people for the good things they do, both for you and for others. Praise them. If you pray, be sure to thank God.
Act your gratitude
Show people that you value them and you’re grateful for their presence in your life. Give them time and attention. Take time for conversations.
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