Practice Gratitude and Reap the Rewards

 “Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.” — Rumi

Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve survived an extremely tough year, one that tested you personally and professionally, but are now on the cusp of a new and exhilarating period with travel opening up once more.

The challenges of the past year tested your resilience as you explored creative ways to keep in touch with your clients to help them (and yourself!) stay excited about travel. At times it was difficult to find many things to be thankful for, but you persevered.

Rumi, the great Persian poet and Sufi mystic, put into words the idea that when you practice gratitude every day, giving thanks for everything that comes into your life, your entire being benefits in large and small ways. His words are backed up by health experts who note that cultivating gratitude on a regular basis helps to rewire our brains by lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and depression and helping us to sleep better.

Cultivating gratitude doesn’t remove life’s annoyances, but can change our perspective and how we react when faced with challenging situations. The daily practice of gratitude, noticing and being thankful for the everyday things that give meaning to our lives, helps us relax and release stress, boosts our spirits and over time leads to greater happiness.

How can you cultivate gratitude and become a more grateful person? Consider these suggestions and add your own:

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal. Before bed each night note a couple of things that made you happy or put a smile on your face.
  • Share compliments generously. Try to give at least one compliment a day, like thanking your postal worker for always delivering your mail on time or thanking the grocery clerk for bagging your groceries so neatly. Or tell a woman you pass on the sidewalk that you like the color of her dress. Everyone likes to feel recognized and uplifted and offering a compliment benefits both the recipient and giver of the compliment.
  • Put the brakes on complaining, criticizing and gossiping. Try it for a week, and notice how much more positive energy you have when you aren’t focusing on negative thoughts.
  • Hug someone. Now that it’s safe to do so, dole out the hugs whenever possible. After a year of separation, we all need that human contact and hugging reinforces how grateful we are to have the other person in our life.
  • Thank your body. Appreciate and applaud your body for everything it does for you, from walking to eating to breathing.
  • Find the joy in small things. Allow yourself to feel joy in simple pleasures every day, rather than waiting for a momentous event to make you happy. Painting your toenails, eating a good meal, meeting friends for coffee, taking a bubble bath, stomping in a puddle…you get the idea!

We’ve turned the corner and clients are booking travel again, making this the perfect time to send each of them a card with a handwritten note letting them know how grateful you are for their friendship and their business.

Eileen Alexander, a writer living in western North Carolina, is grateful for her friendship with Ilja and wishes they lived closer so they could share a hug. She and Ilja have been working together since 2007, back in their New Hampshire days!