What comes to mind when you hear the word – gratitude? There are many synonyms for gratitude, including:
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that gratitude is “the state of being grateful”.
Gratitude at BMF is a state of being. Something we practice through a variety of ways. It is not passive rather an active mindset that every single staff member tries to embrace.
What I didn’t know clearly until our family’s recent health issues was the importance of not just giving thanks but receiving it as well. SO many different people have been able to help us, pray for us and provide for us. The way that people have selflessly reached out to help has been humbling. The selfless acts and care we have received have showed us that we are thought of, loved, and appreciated. (Everyone should have the opportunity to feel this way!)
All of this has caused me to pause and really explore gratitude. Nothing has been expected of us other than to receive what has been given-which is sometimes hard to do. But what was given in gratitude was received with gratitude.
We acknowledged, appreciated, recognized, were responsive, and thankful. The gratefulness came bursting from us! It was a beautiful circle only completed by receiving gratitude from others.
This realization has changed every single day in almost every single way. When the gratitude circle is ongoing, it never ends, it is spread from relationship to relationship and each day because better and more full because we have learned to see and share thanks everywhere.
Can You Cultivate Gratitude?
Yes, and honestly it is easy. By sharing, exploring, and practicing gratitude, we can easily be teaching and modeling it for those around us. Smiles, thank you notes, conscious decision to acknowledge a small act that made you feel special, loved or better are all ways to share gratitude. Actions speak loudly and clearly and may start to be emulated by those around you. Sharing gratitude freely can help you feel more connected, be more positive, and be more optimistic.
Simple Ways to Make Gratitude a Part of Your Life
Making gratitude part of your life isn’t hard to do. These ideas may just give you a jumpstart or show you how much you are already receiving and sharing gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Write down what you are grateful for on a weekly or daily basis.
- Practice an act of kindness. Pay for someone’s coffee, hold the door, or volunteer. Don’t expect anything in return.
- Tell people or write them a note letting them know they are loved and appreciated. Notes are extremely powerful and shouldn’t become a lost practice.
- Say thank you and mean it.
- Compliment others.
- Call friends and parents and check in.
- Take moments daily to stop and reflect on something you’re grateful for. The sun is out, the sky is blue, you hear children playing, you can walk up and down stairs, someone prepared and served your meal in a restaurant, etc. What are the little things you just take for granted?
- Write thank you notes frequently. I try to send 3-5 out each week!
- Look for the silver linings.
- Keep away from negative social media posts-either reading or writing them-and limit contact with negative people.
- Choose one day a week and don’t complain about anything for the whole day.
- Place inspirational quotes about gratefulness in places where you can read them.
- Every time you learn something new, take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity to learn.
- Struggling? Focus on friends and family that are or will provide help and care.
- Notice and help others that are struggling without waiting to be asked.
- Post a positive thought you’ve had, a quote, a thank you, etc. on social media. Spread good thoughts!
- Try not to gossip or speak negatively about other people.
- Make a gratitude collage with pictures, words, and photos of things, people and places you’re grateful for.
Be the power of change. If we could all practice sharing and receiving gratitude on a daily basis, who knows how we could change the world!