Why bother spend time being grateful? Well because believe it or not research has shown that the practice of gratitude on a consistent basis (notice I said consistent!) helps our social, physical and psychological way of life.
Psychologically : When I focus on the pursuit of gratitude I have an opportunity to experience higher levels of positive emotions like joy, optimism and happiness.
Socially : I will feel more forgiving (forgiveness is used to help me release anger, it doesn’t condone what someone did/said, it frees me from negative emotions that might otherwise store up inside and eat away at me), generous, and some people even say they feel more outgoing, well its easier when you are full of positive emotions like joy and happiness I suppose.
Physically : I can lower my high blood pressure, sleep well and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Spending time in the pursuit of gratitude and expressing what I am grateful for gives me an immediate feeling of happiness or a general feeling of elation.
Stop right now and think about something you are grateful for and see if you don’t feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You feel that way because you are taking the time to affirm what is great in your life or about your life right now. Isn’t that so much better than talking about how everything is going wrong?
Gratitude isn’t something I can use as a reason to hide my true feelings. It is there to remind me that despite what I may be feeling and no matter what is falling apart in my life, there is still plenty of great things in my life too and it is important I remember that.
How would life change for you if you went in pursuit of gratitude and practice giving thanks every day?
The video below goes some way to explaining the power of gratitude but not just from someone who likes to write in a gratitude journal (which is a great start) but as someone who lives and breathes the concept of gratitude.
In this video Robert Emmons gives his definition of gratitude
1. an affirmation of goodness – you affirm that there are good things in your life
2. Recognize the source of gratitude
He asks the question do you habitually look at life through grateful “glasses”…
A grateful person is someone who is willing to receive gifts that other people provide or is grateful for gifts from life itself.
Accepts all of life – good and bad – as a gift or a potential gift.
I like to journal about all the great things that happen to me as a great start, but the pursuit of gratitude is much deeper than that. He explains that grateful people are happier and more satisfied plus they tend to engage in acts of generosity and compassion.
There are a large number of plus points for pursuing and living a life of gratitude.
Is being grateful always possible?
There are some people who live gratitude every day no matter what happens to them. I am always afraid of owning a statement like that because I know there are instances when I could never be grateful for an experience. The death of a loved one at the hands of another for example. Or if I was attacked.
Now I understand the thing here is to not be grateful for the event but to practice forgiveness and then be grateful for life and other things despite what has happened. I do wonder how easy it would be should something really bad happen. I hope I never have to find out!
I will own the belief that I always do my very best to remain grateful as events happen in my life and forgive myself if anything happens where I am unable to express gratitude in that moment.
How many reasons do you have to be grateful? How often do you take the time to sit and write out a gratitude list?
You will be amazed just how different life becomes and the powerful shift in thinking that comes from simply listing how grateful I am every single day.
It doesn’t have to be a long list and even if you can only think of one thing (should you ever have a particular bad day) it will still help focus you on what is great in your life.
Here are my reasons to be grateful today
1. I have friends and I get to laugh with them daily.
2. My children are all happy and healthy
3. I am healthy
4. I get to write and express my thoughts
5. I had 3 wonderful meals today
6. I got to find time to read and relax today
When I first started in the pursuit of gratitude I wrote out a gratitude list for 90 days and it really helped me to focus on what good there was in my life and how happy I am.
All I did was write out at least 5 and up to 15 reasons to be grateful for that day.
I picked the same time every day, last thing at night, and went to bed feeling happy and grateful. It is a wonderful way to end the day.
What are you grateful for today?
When gratitude replaces judgment, peace spreads throughout your body, gentleness embraces your soul, and wisdom fills your mind.
– Neale Donald walsch
If there is one thing that causes frustration it is our ability to focus on what we do not have. Nothing is better at causing unhappiness.
I wish I had this, I really want that. Now, there is nothing wrong with our desire to be, have and do more just as long as we don’t allow it to cause frustration.
When I first decided to focus on vegetable juicing as a way to lose weight I could choose to be unhappy with who I was in that moment and to wish I was thin, then put myself down for getting into bad shape.
Or I can acknowledge my health and weight are not where I want them to be, express my gratitude for the lessons being overweight have taught me, and then focus my attention of becoming healthy. I chose the latter because it is far more empowering.
Life has taught me that the best way to enjoy it is to focus on what I already have no matter how small.
Wanting what you have is what gratitude helps you experience rather than frustration at what you don’t have.
When you practise gratitude on a regular basis you will look at your home, your job, the people around you differently. As you focus on why you are grateful for all of the things and people in your life your happiness grows.
Don’t take my word for it. Give it a try for yourself. Start on the pursuit of gratitude and enjoy wanting what you have by expressing gratitude.