“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice,” a maxim first voiced by mystic Meister Eckhart, has held true through the centuries. Why should this simple act mean so much? Expressing gratitude works wonders.
Gratitude reminds us to recognize good people in our life. They range from loved ones to those that render a kindness to a stranger. Treasuring goodness in every form brings more of it into our experience.
Gratitude turns bad things into good things. Having problems at work? Be grateful to be employed and serving others. Challenges keep life interesting, enhance judgment and strengthen character.
Gratitude reminds us of what’s important. Being grateful to have a healthy family and friends, a home and food on the table puts smaller worries in perspective.
Gratitude reminds you to say, “Thank you.” Call, email or stop by to say thanks…it takes just a few minutes to express our reason for doing so. People like being appreciated. It creates a satisfying beam of mutual happiness that shines on.
Here are some ways to overcome any initial discomfort felt in stepping forward to thank others.
Create a morning gratitude session.
Take a few minutes each morning to close your eyes, silence the to-dos and give thanks to whomever and whatever is cause for gratitude.
Show thanks. Sometimes we think about something helpful or kind that someone did for us recently or long ago. Make a note, call them up or even better, tell them in person with sincere conviction why you continue to be grateful and appreciative. Another option is a thank-you card or email–keep it short and sweet.
See the silver lining even in “negative” situations. There are always two ways to look at something. We can perceive something as stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate and difficult, or look for the good embedded in just about everything. Problems held in a positive light from a different perspective can be opportunities to grow and to be creative in devising a solution.
Learn a gratitude prayer. Many songs and prayers, religious or not, serve to remind us to be grateful. Find or write a special one and post it in a highly visible spot.
Leo Babauta is the founder of the simplicity blog, ZenHabits. net, and author of bestselling e-books Focus, The Little Guide to Un-Procrastination and Zen to Done.