November is a month people often reflect on what they are grateful for. Grateful for the fall weather, the delicious food, and the joy of seeing all the family around the table. Gratitude though is an action that can be incredibly impactful to one’s well-being and should harnessed all year round. Research found fostering gratitude can improve levels of happiness along with improved physical and psychological health.

Think about how good it feels when someone thanks you for holding the door for them, or waves at you for letting them turn into your lane in traffic. A simple, “Thank you mom for doing my laundry” can go a long way in a relationship leading to a more positive bond.

In fact, expressing gratitude in a relationship with your loved one is a type of love language. Words of affirmation is where you vocalize your gratitude and appreciation for those around you. Thanking your coworker who helped you out in a time of stress. Telling your partner how much you appreciate them making you dinner after a long day. Even expressing gratitude to yourself for all the amazing things your body allows you to do each and every day.

Developing a relationship with gratitude can start with something simple such as writing down three things you are grateful for each night or morning. Have a journal strictly devoted to gratitude where you can record these thoughts following one of the many templates online. Gratitude can also be expressed through actions such as meditation, sending someone a thank you letter or volunteering in your community. Self-care is another way to show gratitude to yourself and sends the message that you are worth caring for.

Part of the process to showing gratitude involves slowing down enough to reflect on your life and recognizing what you have to be grateful for. It allows you the opportunity to evaluate if you’ve shown gratitude to those around you and to come up with a plan to be more cognizant of your gratitude. It’s easy in our culture to get sucked in and lost in the desire for material items. Slowing down and recognizing what you have and giving thanks is what will lead to real long-term happiness. It will also help to alleviate the pressure of always needing more “things” and put you on a path that allows you to appreciate the roses when you take the time to stop and smell them.

There are multiple benefits to gratitude that go beyond what is touched on in this blog. So my challenge to you as readers is to start practicing giving more gratitude and see the impact something so simple can have on your life. What do you have to lose? Thank you.