“Gratitude can be as easy as a beautiful sunset, an exquisite bite of chocolate, a child, or the brilliance of autumn leaves. No matter what shape or form gratitude takes, it fills us with a warmth and a reminder that life is good; this moment is special. Gratitude provides lessons to make us stronger. It is more than appreciation — it is a gift.”
- Robert Emmons, THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
New Research is suggesting that experiencing gratitude results in calmness of mind and it awakens our brain's pleasure points. In nutshell, gratitude has a transformative effect and is linked to greater health benefits that one may experience. Once we experience gratitude, our bodies produce what we may call as “positivity and wellness hormones” and bio chemicals that gives us an enhanced feeling of well-being and happiness. The health benefits bettercardiovascular health, stronger immune system and overall wellness.
You can try expressing gratitude by simple daily practices. For experiential purposes, it is recommended that you do these practices alone. According to Research evidence, even if you practice just three times a week, you will start noticing small positive changes in your mind and body. These practices can also lead to you better understanding of people around you and creating a new bond with new relationships as well.
1. Intentionally do it: Gratitude will never be a result of your next work promotion of a materialistic pursuit. It is available right now, in your heart and mind. Express yourself!
2. Three good things exercise: At the end of the day, you can write down three good things that happened during the day. Whenever I write my three good things in a “Gratitude Diary”, I play some soothing reiki/zen music from YouTube and that does wonders to my thought patterns. I bought a good-looking notebook to pen down my gratitude notes and I feel joyful doing this task. You may also buy a glass jar and put all your gratitude notes, of different colors in it.
3. Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Gratitude is all about expressing thankfulness towards stuff you have, people you love and whatever you enjoy doing. Although it is surely challenging, try focusing on what you have. A good way to do it can be practicing Mindfulness Meditation or its wonderful variant, “Loving Kindness Meditation”. Click here for some good Mindfulness resources.
4. Send a Gratitude Text: Send a gratitude message to anyone you admire or had an interesting discussion with. It may well be an old friend, new acquaintance, a loved one or even a relative. It can be just a heart-felt message at the beginning of the day!
5. Try to inculcate humility within you: I heard a quote somewhere, “Success brings arrogance and Humility brings greatness”. When you are successful and too much full of yourself, you start believing that others are inferior to you. That is factually incorrect as everyone around you have their uniqueness, personal demeanor and exclusivity, even people who are not acknowledged for their efforts. When you meet someone new, meet as a human would meet another human being, with curiosity, interest and being open to new thoughts, ideas or emotions.
6. Be Mindful of those who are lesser privileged: Around three billion people (around 45% of world population), live on less than $2.50 a day. 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. Many people in the sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Middle East and Latin America are subjugated to despotic political dictatorships, without democracy, proper wages or employment. Being Mindful about these facts make you think of solutions in your sphere of activity and helps you in having gratitude about your own life.
7. Find gratitude in adversity: It is easier to be grateful when things go according to your wishes. However, life brings its’ own challenges on a daily basis. Such challenges may include Death and Bereavement, Sickness, Job losses or any emotional conflict. Even in these challenges of life one can experience gratitude.
There are many more ways in which you can make your life healthier and fulfilled. Our “Happiness Coaches” may assist you in making you live an enriching and flourishing life. If you are interested in studying Research on Gratitude and other areas of well-being, you may study "Positive Psychology" online at Post Graduate Level at the International Institute of Positive Psychology
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