Grattitude: An Attitude of Gratitude
As we approach the end of the year, our attention is likely shifting a bit more heavily toward our friends, family, and loved ones. We’re also likely spending more of our time planning and attending holiday celebrations, enjoying community festivities, and shopping for the perfect gifts to give. All are ways to spread cheer and joy.
It seems we’ve only just cleared the table from our Thanksgiving feasts, and before we know it, we’ll be establishing and declaring our New Year’s resolutions!
Thanksgiving, the holiday devoted to giving thanks, is known as that significant time of year when we bring to mind, focus on, and express all that we are grateful for. It’s a holiday that provides us with a beautiful opportunity to highlight and recount our blessings. It also happens to be the kickoff to the “Season of Giving” that follows, which leads us right up into the new year!
From an abundance of gatherings and celebrations, additional opportunities to volunteer and donate to charity, to playing Secret Santa at work and exchanging gifts with those closest to us, the holiday season is filled with ways for us to give thanks, and show our love, appreciation, and gratitude towards one another.
Of course, feeling and expressing gratitude shouldn’t be limited to only one particular day or special time of the year. Having gratitude can extend far beyond dedicated moments of giving thanks and shift into a mindset and a way of being. Having an attitude of gratitude has the power to shift our lives!
Studies have found that expressing and being in a state of gratitude can have profound effects not only on our mental and emotional well-being but on our physical health as well. Feelings of gratitude have been shown to decrease anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood and sleep, boost immunity, and ease pain, tension, and inflammation in the body.
Having a mindset of gratitude also has the power to cultivate the qualities of happiness and joy in our daily lives. It can lift our energy, enhance our senses of fulfillment and satisfaction in life, and strengthen the bonds of our relationships - both within ourselves and with others.
Now certainly it’s easy to give thanks for the good in our lives and to be grateful when things are going well, but having an attitude of gratitude takes a bit more effort to attain and maintain, and is often referred to as a practice.
And though the terms thankful and grateful might seem interchangeable, they actually differ significantly in meaning. Thankfulness is a momentary emotional response to a specific incident, such as receiving a gift or a kind gesture. Generally, it occurs when something external happens that warrants us to say “thank you”, but the moment and feelings of thanks eventually pass.
Gratitude, on the other hand, is an intentional way of being; an underlying attitude or mindset, which encompasses feeling thankful. Whereas moments of feeling thankful easily come and go depending on outer circumstances, a sense of gratitude is a more consistent and ever-present internal state of mind. Practicing gratitude means accepting life in all its fullness, and being able to feel appreciative in life overall, even when circumstances or situations are less than ideal.
It doesn’t mean we should ignore or deny the trials and tribulations we go through in our lives, which are healthy and important to acknowledge. Nor does it mean we won’t face hardships, but having a mindset of gratitude can help diminish life’s struggles, and guide us in navigating our way through them with more grace and ease.
Being in gratitude has a lot to do with how we choose to look at life and its ups and downs. It’s about finding the silver lining, and remembering that even when there are clouds, the sun is still always shining. For example, if our car breaks down, causing stress and delay, we can decide to accept the reality that sometimes unfortunate things just happen and choose to focus on parts of the situation to be thankful for, like strangers showing up to help and making the situation more manageable. Instead of seeing the experience as negative, we can see it as a positive reminder that there is kindness in the world and people looking out for us.
Another example might be that we have an illness or medical condition that we need care for, but thankfully, we have health insurance that will cover the costs. We can choose to focus our energy more on how we are blessed and fortunate that we’re able to receive the care we need and less on the challenges of our conditions.
This shift in our focus can even change how we’re affected by them. Reframing our situations and experiences in these ways, and choosing to look at them through a lens of positivity, or as opportunities for learning and growth can be very helpful in cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
Optimism, such as viewing the glass as half full, is a great place to start when developing this mindset. It may also be helpful to shift our perspective slightly and focus on what we already have, instead of what we don’t have or want. For instance, rather than trying to see the glass as half full vs half empty, we can simply acknowledge and feel grateful for the fact that we have a glass in the first place!
Many people find that keeping a gratitude journal is an effective method in helping to cultivate this way of being. At the end of each day or week, you can jot down a few simple little things that caused you to feel thankful. Reflecting on all the small things we are grateful for daily in writing provides an excellent visual to help us realize just how much it all adds up.
You can also try incorporating gratitude into a meditation practice through specific guided meditations, or simply by sitting quietly and bringing to mind the people and things in your life you are grateful for.
Outwardly expressing our thanks is equally as powerful as our feelings of gratitude within. Consistently letting the people in our lives know that we value and appreciate them can strengthen our bonds and relationships with them. And when openly expressed, an attitude of gratitude can be contagious!
Now amid the Season of Giving with all its grand gestures of love, generosity, and thanks, we’re likely to feel an abundance of gratitude.
But as you find yourself wrapped up in shopping for the perfect gifts, gathering to celebrate with your loved ones, writing your New Year's resolutions, and spreading all that extra cheer and joy, try to notice the smaller blessings as well. They too are abundant in our lives from day to day, and shifting more of our attention to them has the power to establish an ongoing attitude of gratitude (aka “grattitude”)! And what a beautiful way of being that is for us to carry over into the new year!
We here at The Green Pineapple are so grateful for every one of you and for the opportunities we have to connect with and serve you.
We’re grateful to be able to share our joy and passion for healthy and conscious living, and the ability to offer an abundance of nourishment through food and connections to our community and beyond.
We value and appreciate your loyalty and support, and would like to express our gratitude and thanks. One way we’re doing so is in our 12 Days of Giving - Green Pineapple Style. Every day from December 1st through the 12th we'll be giving away prizes or special offers to you, our Green Pineapple family! If you haven’t been following along, tune in to our Instagram or Facebook page to see our daily offers and be a part of this fun countdown to the holidays.
Cheers and best wishes to you this holiday season, and every day, in the coming new year!