Are you thankful, or are you grateful?
There is a difference.
Webster defines “Thankful” as being pleased or relieved and “Grateful” as showing an appreciation of kindness. So honestly…which are you?
This time of year is primarily focused on being thankful. Getting that warm and fuzzy feeling thinking of all the things our lives include: food on the table, thankful for the presence of friends and family gathered around us, we feel happy that we have a roof over our heads, and we are pleased and relieved that all is well. But it’s just a feeling. Gratefulness is more profound than that. It requires something of you—a sacrifice…a push to go beyond the surface, and warrants action.
In life, thankfulness and gratefulness go hand-in-hand. We should never stop at just feeling good about something. But also put action to it! You feel good about people in your life? Put action to it and tell them! You’re thankful for the abundance of food or clothing you are blessed with? Put action to it and donate the excess to your local food bank or shelter! There are so many ways to express gratitude (gratefulness). And being intentional about it is paramount, but you have to put gratitude at the forefront of your life every day. Being thankful simply isn’t enough.
As believers in Christ, we are called and specifically instructed to start each day with a grateful heart (Psalms 107:1). This way of life should come easy for believers, as a grateful heart is a loving heart. But, again, being thankful is the start, and being grateful kicks it up a notch! Both works in tandem, and the benefits are enormous!
Gratitude opens the door for more meaningful relationships…it is contagious, and when you show it to those you come in contact with, whether friends, family, or a perfect stranger, the opportunity for partnership becomes available.
It also improves physical health! Grateful people feel fewer aches and pains and feel healthier than others, according to a 2012 study published in the Personality and Individual Differences journal. Gratitude also improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
So Nisha, how do I become more grateful? I’m so glad you asked. Here are three easy practices to become more grateful for each day:
1. KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL. You can purchase a journal or just use the notes section on your phone. Pick a person, a place, or anything...identify it specifically and write about your gratitude for it!
2. VOLUNTEER. One of the keys to having more gratitude is to give back. Volunteering makes you more grateful for what you may take for granted, and helping others helps us.
3. SPEND TIME WITH THOSE YOU LOVE. Spending time with friends and family helps you to grow closer and strengthen your relationships. Also, it will evoke a need to practice acts of gratitude.
So are you thankful, or are you grateful? From here out, let’s shoot for both!