Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. —Melody Beattie
There is a difference between being grateful and being thankful. When you are thankful or you thank someone you are acknowledging the existence of it. For instance, if you are at a restaurant and the server brings your food, you thank them. You are acknowledging that they did their job and now you will no longer be hungry. Gratitude on the other hand takes things a little further. Gratitude is acknowledging and appreciating something but it is also connected to a deep emotional state. Being thankful exists in the mind but gratitude comes from the heart/soul. When you are grateful for something it effects your mental, emotional and physical state. Your thought processes become more positive, your emotions transform into a positive, calm, happy state and your body relaxes which brings peace, comfort and healing. Gratitude can be a hard concept to wrap your mind around and even harder to put into action. Being truly grateful rarely comes naturally to anyone but it can be practiced and learned. Think of gratitude as a muscle… in order to strengthen it you must exercise it. Intentionally practicing gratitude is like push-ups for your heart/soul. Having a rough day? Make a list of things you are grateful for! Woke up tired and grouchy? Reach out to someone and tell them something about them you are grateful for! Getting ready for bed? Make being grateful the last thing you do before you go to sleep. Write down 3 things that happened in your day that you are grateful for! As you exercise your gratitude muscle it will get easier to find things you are grateful for and eventually being grateful will be your natural state. It really is a life changer.
Sarah Deats is a Behavioral Health Technician at RI International and the Hope Inc. Stories Recovery Guide