How many of us take a moment to consider what we are really grateful for on a daily basis?
In the West where we can have nearly anything, anytime it can be easy to slip into an attitude of expectation. So focused are we on what we want, we forget to think about what we already have.
It may surprise you to know however, that gratitude thinking is a completely free way to boost your health, wealth and happiness and that by consciously thinking what it is you are grateful for each day overtime results in a more optimistic state of mind.
“Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.”
– Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough
We regularly spend money on cosmetics, anti ageing creams, vitamins and keep fit crazes yet the simple act of gratitude thinking not only improves your overall health, but it has also been scientifically proven to boost your mood and happiness.
To add to this, it has also been proved that those who keep a gratitude journal, writing down on a regular basis what in their life they are grateful for, report fewer physical ailments, are more optimistic and feel better about their lives as a whole.
Even if you lack the time to keep a physical gratitude journal, the simple exercise of considering 3 things you are grateful for everyday lowers your stress levels, gives you a greater capacity to be empathetic and enhances your feeling of contentment
By developing an attitude of gratitude, you place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge others and much more likely to share.
And if you are interested in the Law of Attraction (the quantum physics type, not the love stuff!) then you may be interested to know that the more you feel grateful for, the more things flow back to you.
There are hundreds of things to be grateful for, but if you’re not feeling good about yourself and where your life is at, it may be a bit tricky to think of things. If you resonate with this, then don’t give yourself a hard time, just start off with some simple things such as waking up in a warm bed, the taste of a cup of tea in the morning, the way your slippers feel, or even the sun rising in the sky.
Equally, if you are feeling low and discontented, then as I prescription, I would prescribe 30 days of writing down 10 things to feel grateful for in your life everyday. At the end of the 30 days I guarantee that you will have achieved way more an an anti depressant ever could, and will have shifted your way of thinking in the process.
Dr. Emmons, considered the world’s expert on gratitude, says that you can create a habit of becoming more aware and paying additional attention to gratitude-inspiring events in order to intensify the benefits you receive from your gratitude practice. Do this by paying attention to details, exploring the depth of your gratitude and even remembering the not so great events and experiences in your life so you can compare the contrast.
Dr. Emmons suggests putting post-it-notes reminders on your desk, on the fridge and in your car to strengthen your gratitude practice. He also high recommends that you express your gratitude frequently. And last, express your gratitude to people who are critical of you. This circumstance gives you the best practice and provides a chance for your soul to grow into the experience.
Personally for me, I capture what I feel grateful for when I journal and also when I experience something in the moment. Every day it varies and after years of doing this, I have noticed how much my attitude of gratitude has developed towards the smaller things in life such as the bus being on time, watching a flock of swans flying overhead, waking up in time to see the sunrise and the sky awash with colour.
What ever you feel grateful for the key to developing an attitude of gratitude and experiencing all the magic and health benefits that go with it, the key is being consistent. A bit like exercise, the more you do, the stronger you become.
Make a start today and see how quickly you start to experience the benefits in ways perhaps you didn’t expect!