How do you stay healthy and happy? We all need nourishing food, regular exercise, love and affection from others, and a sense of inner peace. And we need to be grateful for what we have. This is the time of year when we hear a lot about the importance of gratitude.
According to a Pew Research Center 2015 poll, 78% of Americans feel grateful at least weekly. There are discernible benefits associated with gratitude.
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. Brene Brown
Gratitude – The Key To A Happier Life
Being grateful enriches our lives. Gratitude is a way of recharging our spiritual battery. People who actively practice gratitude are happier – there is a snowball effect when the individual benefits come together. People who practice gratitude:
- Have better relationships.
- Are healthier due to sleeping better, having fewer physical symptoms and lowering incidences of depression.
- Have increased productivity at work.
- Are more emotionally resilient.
- Have higher self-esteem.
- Make better decisions.
- Are more empathetic.
There’s a spiritual law that states what we focus on increases. As we focus on those things we are grateful for, those parts of our lives become energized and expand.
I inadvertently tested this spiritual law a couple of years ago when I was rebooting my conflict resolution business: every morning I sat down and wrote in a gratitude journal and included my clients and the work I was doing for them. I didn’t know I was working a spiritual law; it just seemed like the right thing to do at that time in my life. I had a highly successful year without doing any marketing. People who needed help found me on the Internet or got my number from colleagues, and I was busier than I had ever been. I attribute my great year to my attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude Is An Attitude
Gratitude can’t be a one-time deal. It needs to be one of our habits, something that is part of our daily routine. We need an attitude of gratitude.
Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. Brian Tracy
I have some favorite gratitude practices. The last thing I do before I go to sleep at night is to say aloud the ten things I am most grateful for that day. I am usually asleep before I get to number 10. Periodically, I keep a gratitude journal, especially during the more difficult times in my life. There are many ways to have an attitude of gratitude. Here are some other suggestions:
- Start conversations and meetings by talking about what’s working, before sharing complaints and problems.
- Appreciate nature by going outside and fully taking in the sunshine, snowflakes, mountains, whatever nature has placed in your immediate environment.
- Go on a mental diet by avoiding negative thoughts and beliefs one day a week.
Rhonda Byrne, who produced the film The Secret, taught me something very profound about gratitude journaling. She taught me to go deeper. To really touch that place in me that felt gratitude, beyond the words themselves, it is necessary to go to a deeper level by being more specific. For example, if I write that I am grateful for my friend Cathleen, I am expressing a general acknowledgement of her and our relationships. But if I write that I am grateful for my friend Cathleen for how she listens to me in a compassionate way, I am able to re-experience the feelings of being listened to and the gratitude I feel when that happens.
What I love about the practice of digging deeper into the core of what I appreciate and feel thankful for is that I can have endless gratitude for Cathleen (or anyone or anything in my life) because I can now list the many gifts and blessings from each person, place or thing. We have a truer and richer experience of gratitude when we get specific about what we are grateful for.
What are your gratitude practices? I appreciate all of you who take the time to share with other who read this post. Leave your reply in the section below. Thanks!
To your success,
Follow Marsha Lichtenstein on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrMarshaTweets