Power of Gratitude
Have you ever wondered why some people seem so much more content with life than others? It doesn’t have to do with their income or the car they drive or where they live. It could be in relation to how grateful they are. Think about it.
Never before have we lived in an age where we are so bombarded with advertising. It seems that in order to live a happy and fulfilling life we need to have the latest car, computer, phone, yoga pants or tattoo. Not only do we have to “have it” but we have to have it now because before you know it the next best new thing will come along and we all need to update. But the yoga should never be about the pants and I’m pretty sure your higher self isn’t bothered by them!
All of this pressure and all of these things certainly don’t seem to be making us any happier. People have become disconnected from their lives and have perhaps lost sight of what is really important. Our emotions are closely linked to our health and it is widely accepted that we are at our most healthy when our mind, spirit and body are in balance. So if we have a material culture telling us we haven’t got enough but by design we never can, is it any wonder that our health is suffering? We are left feeling empty.
Practising the art of gratitude may be a way we can tune out those feelings of inadequacy and tune in to positive emotions and a healthy mindset. This in turn may be beneficial to our health and well being.
The art of gratitude is simply a way to stop and reflect on your day or week and notice the many positive things you already have in your life or have experienced that day. It is deliberately looking at the glass as “half full”. Now this isn’t just a feel good experiment. Psychologists have been looking at this and have found many benefits. One study found that keeping a gratitude journal (where you note 5-10 things per day that you are grateful for) led to a whole range of benefits such as more enthusiasm, alertness, greater positivity and less physical illness. Journaling also had a positive impact on progress towards personal goals; helped people feel more connected and even improved the quality of their sleep.
How you choose to journal your gratitude is up to you. Some popular options are to mediate on your gratitude while you walk or sit, write them down every day, or you can even download an app for your phone or tablet (eg Gratitude 365). The idea is for it to become a regular habit (daily or at least 3 times a week is best) and one that is manageable. You don’t need to write massive lists of everything just stick to 5-10. If you find it hard to just choose that small number then the process is starting to work and you are realising just how much you have to be thankful for in your life.
You may ask what happens if you have had the worst day of your life? There will always be something to be grateful for (even if it is only for the fact that you are alive!)
By Fiona Joiner