Gratitude is not just another word, it’s a way of life
Thanksgiving is a time for eating (don’t forget the eating, as if!), counting blessings, giving thanks and giving to others. Counting blessings and giving thanks leads me to a word we hear constantly on TV and radio. I’ve read it in magazines and books, even newspapers. Interest in the word is everywhere. Gratitude, it’s all the rage these days. Let’s explore what gratitude is, why it is important and how you can bring gratitude into your life.
I discovered the work of Robert Emmons, PhD, from the University of California, Berkeley. Simply put, he says that gratitude is an “affirmation of goodness” and that the source of goodness comes from outside us, from other people and/or from a higher source. Experiencing gratitude also encourages us to repay the gift or pay it forward.
Emmons tells us that there are many benefits to practicing gratitude. His list is long and includes, but is not limited to, happiness, reduced anxiety and depression, good physical health, better sleep, more resiliency, stronger relationships (and possibly improved difficult relationships) and forgiveness. This is an impressive list.
It is important to mindfully behave in such a way as to maximize gratitude in our lives. Here are some actions to help you achieve your best life:
- Keep a Gratitude Journal: every day, write at least 3 things for which you are grateful.
- Don’t forget the hard times that you have survived.
- Write a Gratitude Letter to an important person in your life whom you’ve never properly thanked.
- Savor the good in your life, feel it with your senses.
- Focus on the intentions of the gift-giver or the person who made a positive impact in your life.
- Think about your mortality and be grateful for life, especially in the face of health challenges.
This Thanksgiving bring gratitude to the table along with the turkey and stuffing. Ask each person how he or she can incorporate gratitude in his or her life. Perhaps you can create a Gratitude Journal for each person around the table and begin a new tradition. This can become the start of your New Year’s resolutions.
Are you wondering how you are doing manifesting gratitude in your life? Take the Gratitude Quiz! https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/6/%22
The article above was submitted by Sandra Rodriguez, Life Repurposed Coach
Originally appeared in the Orange County Breeze, November 2014, Spotlight