We often think of the benefits of someone showing us gratitude but not the benefits of showing others gratitude.
The effects of gratitude on our lives is truly amazing. Not just on our psychological well-being but also on our relationships with others and even our physical health.
Gratitude has been shown to bring us happiness, reduce anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, strengthen our immune system, help us sleep, strengthen relationships, and even make us feel closer to others.
“The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.
Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.” – “Why Gratitude is Good” by Robert Emmons
Gratitude Through Homemaking
How does all of this apply to homemaking though? Simple, everything starts at home. If our homes are a place of gratitude we are more likely to show gratitude in other parts of our lives as well. A gracious attitude is contagious.
Think about the homes you’ve visited, which have you felt the most comfortable in? Were they the most beautiful homes? The cleanest? Or were they the homes with the most gracious hosts?
For me, one of the homes I’ve always felt the most comfortable and at home in is my great aunt’s. It’s a beautiful but modest ranch home. It’s not fancy but it’s cozy, charming, and most of all my great aunt always makes you feel at home.
She lives in a different state than myself and my immediate family and every time we want to visit you don’t even have to ask, she will have a room ready for you. I feel a true sense of home when I walk into her house. But she could move to a different house and it would still feel like home, because she is the one bringing that sense of home to the people that visit.
However, it doesn’t seem like being gracious is the first priority of most homemakers. Just look at our Pinterest accounts and you will see we are often more concerned with having the most beautiful and perfect home. You won’t see much on being gracious. Yet being gracious is free and much more attainable than perfection.
So how do we show gratitude in our homemaking? It’s really not hard, it’s all about shifting our thinking and attitude.
- A great first step is starting a gratitude journal. Everyday write down at least three things you are grateful for. This will help you develop a more grateful attitude. I write in mine before bed to help me go to sleep in a better frame of mind.
- Show your family gratitude for the little things. We normally remember to thank people for gifts and big gestures but what about the little things? It’s nice to be thanked for the everyday things as well. Next time your husband gets home from work tell him thank you for his hard work, or maybe he took out the trash or mowed the lawn. Even if it’s something we always do it’s nice to know people notice and it matters.
- Take the time to send a thank you note to someone that did something special for you. Maybe you had dinner at a friend’s home or someone took your kids to school, a little note of gratitude will help show them that they matter to you.
- Be a gracious hostess. Your home doesn’t have to be in perfect shape. If you want you can add a few cozy touches like throw blankets, candles, or fresh flowers, but this is not the most important thing. Make your guest feel at home, again fancy is not the key, it’s about showing gratitude and kindness to the people you love. If they are staying overnight leave a little note on their bed welcoming them. The simplest touches can have the biggest impact.
- If you have children be sure to teach by example. Showing them gratitude and also showing others around them gratitude can make it very natural for them. Teaching them how to write thank you notes is also great. Thank you notes seem to be becoming a thing of the past but that only makes them that much more special.
- Look for the good in your home. It’s easy to focus on the areas of our home that we don’t like and want to change. Take the time to look around and appreciate the parts of your home you love. When we spend more time looking for the good, we spend less time worried about the bad.
- Take a moment today to think about what you are grateful for and tell someone thank you. You never know what this could mean to someone else’s day.
If we can make our homes a place of gratitude, imagine the good that can do for the people in our lives. It’s so simple, yet so important.
Lisa blogs about homemaking, green living and her love of all things vintage over at Retro Housewife Goes Green. She’s loves to share her passion for vintage homemaking and green living because she believes sometimes the simple things are really the best for us and the planet. Head on over and say hi!