Starting on Friday December 7
You’ve heard of the saying “Attitude of Gratitude”, but what does it really mean?
It means taking the time to acknowledge and give thanks. It means being consciously thankful or appreciative for lots and lots of things. And yes, even the crappy stuff, because when you can get to the stage of being appreciative for the challenges that can come our way in this life…well, that is something pretty special.
Why do it?
Because it makes us feel good. It also shifts energy within us, which can be really beneficial it we are having a challenging day. It’s not about denying what we are experiencing, because that’s not helpful, but we get to the stage where it’s time to take steps for how we are feeling.
There’s also a growing body of evidence from scientific research that grateful people are happy people.
From the Greater Good Science Centre at Berkeley, comes this, “Over the past two decades, studies have consistently found that people who practice gratitude report fewer symptoms of illness, including depression, more optimism and happiness, stronger relationships, more generous behavior, and many other benefits.”
The key is though, it has to be genuine, it has to be authentic. And some days, that can be a challenge. I know. I’ve been there. Many year ago, I was deep in the depths of living with depression. This process was one of the tools I utilised to help me heal myself and some days, it was all I could do to find something for which I could genuine express gratitude. I also doubted that the process would make any meaningful difference in my life (I am a skeptic by nature), but by this stage, I was willing to try almost anything.
So I did it, and little by little, I felt a change in myself. I did feel happier. I did feel less depressed. And gradually, I found more and more things for which I could be genuinely thankful. And eventually, I was even able to find aspects of precious experiences that I catergorised as challenging (to say the least) for which I really could be genuinely appreciative – after all, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had not had those experiences; and I kinda like who I am today 🙂
Below is a video from the Greater Good Science Centre at Berkeley which details some of the benefits of gratitude.
How to do it?
It starts with consciously choose to give thanks for things in your world. Start with the easy stuff, the things that go well; the unexpected blessings; the car park right where you need it to be; the first sip of that tea/coffee that soothes your soul; the hug from someone at just the right time; the achievement of a goal; the unexpected financial benefit, the gorgeous sunrise/sunset, seeing the full moon rise…the possibilities are endless
Then when you feel able, start reflecting on the things that may be challenging and see if there is any aspect of the experience for which you can be appreciative.
Every day you will receive a prompt to reflect on a particular topic to identify things around the topic for which you can express authentic appreciation.
If you are someone who loves to journal, I invite you to journal these things.
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Benefits of Gratitude – Robert Emmons
Greater Good Science Centre, Berkeley