The true benefits of gratitude – and 10 best ways to give thanks

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Respectful Ways - Gratitude feels greatThe fall and winter seasons are often associated with meal preparation of comfort foods, cozying up under a warm blanket, or relaxing with a cup of hot cocoa by a fire. This season, aside from decompressing, it’s just as important to take time to explore the true message behind gratitude -- and how it can benefit your emotional intelligence.

Can gratitude truly improve our mind?

Yes! Studies show that actively taking a moment to "feel thankful" produces an array of positives including better mood, reduced stress, improved sleep and stronger relationships.

Health & Healing Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
    • Increase of dopamine and serotonin
    • Improvement in social well-being
    • Increase in productivity
    • Support of a growth mindset
    • Improvement in quality and quantity of sleep
    • Combat of anxiety and depression
    • Encouragement of hope and resilience
    • Support in rewiring of the brain to focus on the positives
    • Support in combating negative thoughts & emotions
Great, I can think of a long list of things I am grateful for, but what now?

Respectful Ways Gratitude feels great

There's more to it than just simply experiencing gratitude.

Put your gratitude in action: Sprinkle gratitude practices throughout your day -- such as, daily affirmations, gratitude lists, gratitude journaling or gratitude meditation. Take a few minutes out of your day to focus on the good in your life.

Expressing appreciation not only makes our loved ones feel cared about, but also strengthens our relationships while building up serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

Think of a time you have expressed your appreciation toward someone: How did you feel after? Nine times out of ten, it feels good to give thanks… to let someone know you care, to appreciate them, and notice them.

Here are some ideas to send some positivity out to others while opening optimism into our own lives.

Top Ten Ways to Give Thanks
    • Write a thank you card
    • Pick or buy someone flowers
    • Host a gratitude dinner, coffee or tea gathering
    • Express your gratitude by verbalizing it
    • Arrange an activity for you to engage in that the person enjoys
    • Give a public shout out to the person you are grateful for
    • Volunteer your time
    • Publish a post or comment on social media expressing your gratitude
    • Lend a listening ear to someone who is an active listener for you
    • Make a handmade gift for someone such as a photo collage


Building an Attitude of Gratitude starts early

That's why Respectful Ways offers a course called Gratitude Feels Great. PreK -2nd grade students reflect on thankfulness, and learn to feel grateful for what they have. Social and emotional learning needs to start very young to build neural pathways in the brain. Mindful moments of gratitude positively impact not only our relationships but our emotional intelligence.


Check out these celebrity quotes on gratitude:

Focusing on one thing that you are grateful for increases the energy of gratitude and rises the joy inside yourself - Oprah Winfrey

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around - WIllie Nelson

You just want something else that someone else has, but that doesn’t mean what you have isn’t beautiful, because people always want what you have, and you always want what they have – no one is ever 100 percent. - Rihanna

I'm grateful for everything I have. I'm grateful for it all. I'm grateful for love most of all because I have a lot of it in my life - Jennifer Lopez

Gratitude is looking on the brighter side of life, even if it means hurting your eyes - Ellen DeGeneres


Respectful Ways encourages you to take a few minutes today to reflect on all the good in your life, and express your thanks to those around you. After all, gratitude is a confirmation of goodness: Goodness of people and the goodness within ourselves.

Contributing Author, Kim Celotto


Respectful Ways offers trauma-informed social-emotional learning curriculum for four age groups: PreK-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Students engage with interactive, digital modules covering compassion, perseverance, respect and responsibility.










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