I'm a huge fan of expressing gratitude, particularly as a tool to relieve stress. I take a few minutes each night before going to sleep to acknowledge 3 things I'm grateful for. Particularly in times of stress, focusing on what we're grateful for is an effective way of putting things into perspective.
For instance, let's say you've had a tough day at work filled with long meetings, aggressive deadlines and difficult co-workers. It's easy to ruminate on the stress for the rest of the night and this is what comes naturally to many of us. But consider what would happen if you took a step back and instead of focusing on the negatives, you focused on and expressed gratitude for all of the positives. Maybe you're grateful for having strong legs that allowed you to go on your morning run. Or perhaps you're grateful for being in a loving, supportive, healthy relationship with the person laying next to you.
Making the shift from focusing on what you're NOT happy about to focusing on what you ARE happy about is very powerful and I encourage you all to give it a try.
Facebook for Grateful People
Today I came across this awesome website and couldn't wait to tell you about it: http://www.gratitudelog.com
The creators of the site claim it to be The Happiest Place on the Internet and I think it has earned that title for sure. The site is a huge community of people who publicly express gratitude and have the opportunity to connect with one another by replying to each others' posts, appreciating one another, or deeming someone's status "awesome". I could feel a tremendous amount of positive energy pulsing through the site as I scrolled down the page reading what other people were grateful for. I thought about Facebook and how so many people use it as a platform to complain or express negativity in order to get attention. It was so refreshing to be on a Facebook-esque site but be immersed in a sea of gratitude, appreciation, and positive outlooks.
Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy
Today, I also came across this video which addresses gratitude and appreciation in a comedic way. Conan O'Brien's interview with comedian Louis C.K. is not only entertaining, but reminds us to be grateful for what we have, how far we've come (in terms of technology), and not to take things for granted: