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Much like the skill of cooking, baking, writing or math, gratitude is a skill that needs practice. Now more than ever, it is important that we hone this skill of gratitude.

Gratitude is the act of being grateful or appreciative. A large part of being grateful is being able to pause and notice the things in life that we can be grateful for. The definition of gratitude is centered on the appreciation of gifts earned and unearned. Research has found positive changes in brain regions with the practice of gratitude that make future experiences of gratitude more salient.

It is not only a feeling that we experience in response to something, but a choice that we make. It is important to recognize the choice in gratitude because we live in a very accelerated world, sometimes making it hard to appreciate all that we have. A large part of being grateful is being able to pause and notice the things in life that we can be grateful for. Many of us are great at saying thank you to obvious gifts but it’s harder to recognize the gifts that are unearned like the small feelings of joy we experience when we sip a warm drink, or spend time with our friends or family; the way that the sun dances along a body of water or the way the fall leaves shine brightly and colourfully. These are all gifts, and with practice, we can feel grateful for them. Essentially, gratefulness is a way that we give life meaning by receiving it and all its parts as gifts.

You might be asking yourself, “how do I practice gratefulness?”. One way to practice gratefulness is to add small stop signs in your daily lives. By adding stop signs to our daily lives, we can learn to practice being grateful. “Stop and smell the flowers” is a perfect example of putting small stop signs in your life. A first step in practicing gratitude is to take a moment to appreciate things in your daily life. Challenge yourself to stop and smell flowers, notice and thank the sun for shining or stop and be grateful for the amazing taste of the snack you might be eating. Small steps can lead to great leaps.

Be well and stay grateful.

Written by Samantha Memedoska

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