As we enter the holiday season, I am thinking I suppose appropriately about gratitude. But I am thinking about it in a little more twisted way than you might expect. In the information diet that I choose to consume, I see a lot about gratitude. As I write this, an email just came into my mailbox entitled, Rediscover Gratitude, All Year Round, a curation of 10 articles on the wonder of gratitude. I don’t think I am exaggerating to say that gratitude has been positioned by many as the answer to all our ills.
Do a gratitude journal. Grab a gratitude rock. Plant a gratitude tree. Or hell, go with the full gratitude garden. Maybe it’s easier to do a gratitude box or jar?? Definitely, start and end your day, declaring all you are grateful for. Why wouldn’t you do it? Research shows that gratitude can:
- Help you make friends.
- Improve your physical health.
- Improve your psychological health.
- Enhance empathy and reduces aggression.
- Improve your sleep.
- Enhance your self-esteem.
- Increase in mental strength.
You might be thinking, Shaunie, come on, going after the gratitude “movement”? Not a good look! Do have issues with puppies and kitty cats??? Don’t get me started. Back to gratitude, just bear with me for a minute. I am Living Curiously! Look at the list above. Really? When something gets a little goofy, I like to take a closer look.
Let’s do a simple thing. Let’s look at the synonyms for gratitude. On the list are obligation, indebtedness, and requital.
Whoa! For me, these actions aren’t particularly healthy. They can lead to stress, frustration, and loss of freedom. So, can a gratitude garden! Can you imagine what tending THAT would be like? All that gratitude that would need to be picked. Yikes! Such an obligation!
Ok. So, what’s my game? Sometimes, I get a sense all these “practices” can be a grind and I prefer simple. If the journals, boxes, and jars work for you, giddy up! But I will make this simple gratitude suggestion, as we give thanks this holiday season, call, write, text, kiss, hug, hold (etc!) the people you are thankful and grateful for. In the end, the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our relationships. It’s all about the people in our lives. While I am not sure what I have suggested will help you sleep better, I can vouch for the goodness and joy in the human connection. Definitely more juice than a gratitude rock.
Previously Published on Men Living and is republished on Medium.
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