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Mar 27

An Attitude of Gratitude


Gratitude

Gratitude is good for your mental health. 

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what a person receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude or thankfulness, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, they usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being thankful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves— whether to other people, nature or a higher power.

Researchers like Martin Seligman, Robert Emmons, and Michael McCullough are turning their attention to the study of gratitude and its relationship to health and mental well-being. I will present some of their findings here to help us understand how gratitude is helpful and why it’s important to our well-being.

  • People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis have been found to exercise more regularly, have fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and feel more optimistic about their upcoming week as compared to those who keep journals recording the stressors or neutral events of their lives.

  • Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep duration and quality. Grateful people also report lower levels of depression and stress, although they do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.

  • People who think about, talk about or write about gratitude daily are more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to another person.

  • Those with a disposition towards gratitude are found to place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own or others success in terms of possessions accumulated, are less envious of wealthy people, and are more likely to share their possessions with others.

  • Emerging research suggests that daily gratitude practices may have some preventative benefits in warding of coronary artery disease.

According to Michael Craig Miller M.D. of Harvard Medical School, researchers who study gratitude find that it is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Thankfulness helps people:

  • Feel more positive emotions

  • Relish good experiences

  • Improve their health

  • Deal with adversity

  • Build strong relationships

 

So how does one cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude?

 

Ingredients for a Thankful Heart

Begin

So do it. Sit down with pen and paper or at your computer and start, “I am grateful for …” Maybe you will have to stop there for a minute and wait because you just can’t think of anything. But just wait. Surrender to the moment. Something inside you will shift. The words will come. Do this, via writing or in your head, every day!

This force that you are tapping into is bigger than you and it is bigger than your problem, no matter how big that is. That tide of fear that is overwhelming you is not all there is. There is so much more to you than that.

Your gratitude list is a bridge across those troubled waters to a resting place on the other side.

 

Feel It

Some days you will write without feeling a shred of gratitude. That’s ok. Just do it anyway. And when you can summon up the feeling of gratitude in your heart, let it percolate through every cell in your body. Embody it. Place your hands on your heart. Raise your head, and say Thank You.

Move into the feeling. Dance it. Sing it. Aspire to a fullness of heart, no matter what is going on around you.

 

Practice Present-Moment Gratitude.

As you move through your day, pause now and then when you remember and think as you are doing something, “I am grateful.” When you do sit down to write your gratitude list those things will come to mind.

 

Allow Yourself to be Human.

Grumble if you must. Miss the odd day here and there. Write “I am grateful I am writing my gratitude list” five times if you can think of nothing else.

If you miss some days, beware the little voice that says “You’ve missed a day. You’ve failed miserably at being grateful!” Ignore it. Get back up on your horse and keep riding! Eventually, you will not need to write it down…. it will be such a habit, to be thankful, that you will be constantly in a state of gratefulness. Your best You awaits

I hope you enjoyed this article.  Please leave your ideas and comments below.

With Gratitude,

Chris

 

Sources:

Harvard Health

Psychology Today

Integrative Nutrition

UMass Dartmouth

8 comments

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  1. John nieler

    I’m thankful for life and people who make life worth living. I came through surgery 3 weeks ago and grateful for the each person: doctors, nurses, staff, family, friends, and strangers who showed love support and kindness. I’m still on the journey to recovery but know that I have so much to live for and purpose to pass the love to others along the way. Thank you.

  2. Mircoo

    It is so important to be thankful. Thank you for this post!

    1. Gert

      People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis have been found to exercise more regularly, have fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and feel more optimistic about their upcoming week as compared to those who keep journals recording the stressors or neutral events of their lives. Thank you for this article.

  3. Maryann

    I’ve been working really hard on being more grateful. It’s one of my major goals. Thank you so much for this post. I LOVE the idea of a gratitude journal. I think it might be just what I need!

  4. Arturo sof

    Thank you for this.

  5. WilliamToogy

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you.

  6. DarylSeday

    Choose to be grateful it will make you happier. Thanks. A great way to start my day.

  7. Robert Thync

    This rocks thanks x

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