Starting the New Year, I started a gratitude journal.
Last night, I was reading an article from Natural Health Magazine on Gratitude. I’m going to share some of its content. My desire is that you begin this year with Gratitude.
Recent studies show that the benefits of gratitude may include less stress, more joy, enhanced vitality, improved sleep, faster recovery from illness, and more fulfilling relationship and a deeper sense of spiritual connection.
“Gratitude works because it recruits other positive emotions – like joy, contentment, and hope - that have direct physical benefits”, says Robert Emmons, Ph.D (Author of Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier)
Conscious appreciation also gives the mind a boost. This boost will dampen the stress response after a long day at work. We need to stop paying attention at what upsets us. Studies have shown that gratitude is a habit – as learnable as flossing.
Here are some ways to give thanks every day.
* Keep a gratitude journal – One of the most effective ways to cultivate appreciation is to write daily in a gratitude journal. (Which I have started this year) In a study by Emmon’s people who make simple lists of what they’re thankful for are 25% happier, sleep half an hour more per night, and exercise 33% more each week than those who don’t. Focusing on gratitude leads to having more to be grateful about.
* Express yourself – It’s also important to share your gratitude with its sources. “We forget to tell that friends we’re grateful for her” says Mary Beth Sammons (Co-author of Living as a Thank You) “If you really articulate why you’re grateful, it’s contagious. She feels really good and starts telling other people she’s grateful, so it becomes this force.” Be specific and consider delivering a handwritten thanks. “Even a simple note that says, “Thank You very much for taking care of my pet when I was on vacation, is very powerful.”
* See a bigger picture - Grateful people spot the positive without denying pain. “Gratitude is an and experience” explains Ryan. “You may be having trouble at work, finances may not be so good, and you receive blessings every day.” The air you breathe, the fact that you are alive, and so much more.
* Celebrate Thanksgiving every day - Many families do a round of “What I’m Grateful For” at Thanksgiving dinner, but Ryan’s family does it every night. “It creates a connection between the people at the table,” she says. It can also connect us to our food when we’re thankful for its journey to our plates – from the sun and rain to the farmer to whoever bought and cooked it. “If you actually allow yourself to experience that,” says Ryan, “then of course you eat in a different way.”
Resourses: Article, “Master the art of Gratitude” appeared in Natural Health Magazine, Nov 2010