Valentine's day is so filled with pseudo-romantic fluff that its true meaning easily gets lost: Gratitude and appreciation for that special someone in your life.
There's nothing wrong with flowers and pink hearts; of course, as long as you also take some time to reflect on all the things you're grateful for. These could include people and things in your own life, and of course your partner if you have one. It also includes the other important people in your life, family, friends, colleagues, and beyond.
Take some time to thank them for being in your life, and then add something specific about them that you're grateful for. Whether it's something they have done for you, or something about them that makes you happy to be in their company, figure out what it is and share it with them.
Expressing gratitude has been shown to give people a big emotional lift. It does the same for relationships. Gratitude and resentment or anger cannot reside in the same place at the same time. So once you fill your heart with gratitude, the negative emotions won't have a place to settle in and will evaporate.
Not that this is a new and revolutionary concept. Quotes and writings about gratitude have been plentiful for centuries.
Melodie Beattie wrote:
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
And Wikipedia has a solid grip on the benefits of gratitude as well:
"Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self-acceptance."
The more grateful we are, the happier we are, and the more effectively we're able to cope with life's challenges. We even sleep better when we're grateful.
Clearly, gratitude is something we could use more of, and the best part is that we are able to enjoy as much of it as we like. It's completely in our control -- and it's completely free! So find ways to add a good dose of gratitude into your daily life.
And don't worry. You won't have to wait to be grateful until you win the lottery. Appreciate the little things, or the things that are really quite big but that you take for granted.
Whatever it is that you're grateful for, make a note of it. Write it down. In fact, make a gratitude list. Simply write down all the events, things and people for which you are thankful. Expressing gratitude and appreciation for people in your life brings joy to both of you.
In fact, you could make a gratitude list for your Valentine! Take some time to write down everything you appreciate about your partner and then share it with him or her on Valentine's Day!
But don't stop there. Continue to find things you're grateful for every single day. Make it into a regular practice.
You could begin the morning by making a list of the things for which you are grateful. It may be your health and wellness, it may be the love you share or abundance of finances, or perhaps it’s your home or the motor home that takes you on many adventures! It can also be the simple things like a bed to sleep in and clean water to be able to bathe in. By seeking to find all the positive pieces in your life, you begin the day with a positive attitude. What a wonderful way to get started!
Or you may prefer to give thanks for your blessings at the end of the day, just before drifting off to sleep, by reflecting on a wonderful day and the many things for which to be grateful. It could be the nice person who served the coffee, not running out of gas, being acknowledged for a job well done, having the finances to pay for a car repair, or simply being grateful for the food you had for dinner. Gratitude comes in many shapes and sizes, but it always makes you feel good.
A "Gratitude Journal" is another awesome way to keep track of the things you are grateful for in your life. There are different journals on the market, some very elaborate and others simple, but the important thing is to start one! Like anything in your life that you wish to change, it takes practice and repetition. It’s said that it takes 21 days to change a habit or create a new one. Gratitude journaling is definitely a good habit to start!
Here's one of my favorite quotes: "Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn’t here...so all we have is today and that is why it’s called the present!"
Think about it: How grateful are you for your present...for today and every day of your life? Be sure to let your Valentine and everyone around you know how much you appreciate them. And spend some time appreciating yourself as well.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melonie Dodaro is an author, coach and the founder and CEO of MindBody FX Weight Management Company, who specializes in changing the way women think so they can achieve permanent weight loss. Now, you can learn how to harness the power of your mind to experience the weight loss results you desire. Claim your FREE MindBody FX Lifestyle Book Sneak Preview and Consumer Awareness Guide at http://www.weightlossconsumersguide.com and start shedding the pounds today.