In a week, we will once again celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. As the name implies, gratitude is especially relevant during this holiday, but as you know, every day can be a day to celebrate gratitude.
It’s hard to believe, but I began my Happy Blog in 2006, 11 years ago! During that time, I have written a few other posts about giving thanks
that include more gratitude quotes
you might want to check out.
Today, I want to share 10 Things I Have Learned about Gratitude:
1.) It is important to express gratitude, even if it is hard. Sometimes life is so challenging that even the thought of being grateful puts us in a tailspin. When we focus on our losses and failures, feeling melancholy or alone, we are blinded to finding even little things for which to be grateful.
2.) Keeping a gratitude journal will increase your happiness. It’s laudable to verbally give thanks, but writing it down is doubly powerful. Keep a gratitude journal so that it becomes a practice to spend a few moments daily, or at least weekly, jotting down what you are grateful for–even small things like the smell of newly cut grass, or your cozy bed.
According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, as little as 15-20 seconds of practicing gratitude can lower stress hormones, increase the flow of oxygen to every cell of your body and harmonize your heart’s rhythms with your body’s other systems.
3.) The more specific we are in the details when writing our gratitude, the more powerful the results will be. For example, the stranger at the airport who saw you running with two carry-ons and simply offered to take them for you all the way across the concourse where you made the last call for your flight (and don’t forget the pilot, the flight attendants, and the security people who all contributed to getting you to your destination safely.)
4.) There is scientific proof that gratitude works wonders in our lives.
If common sense doesn’t convince us to be grateful, then science might. Dr. Emmons from the University of California at Davis
is working on a long-term research project to determine and highlight how gratitude heals, energizes, and creates happiness. Two of Dr. Emmons’ findings are:
5.) Being grateful keeps you in the present moment. It is hard to feel unhappy while you are being grateful. We don’t ruminate about the future or regret the past. We are engaged in thoughts of good and focusing on blessings. This is not denying that we may have challenges and painful events in our lives; it is simply shifting our perception to giving thanks often.
6.) When giving thanks and being grateful become a habit in our lives, then gratitude inspires action.
For example, The November 12th show on CBS Sunday Morning
featured the restaurant owners of Rooster Soup Company of Philadelphia.
Chef Mike was so grateful that his business partner, Steve, had stepped in and had done an intervention to help him kick his cocaine and heroin addictions, that the decision was made to donate 100% of their profits to the Broad Street Ministry to feed the homeless. The first week of donations fed around 100 people.
7.) Gratitude is not solely directed outward. It is important to focus gratitude inward and appreciate yourself. In your journal, take note of everything you are and all that you do. Acknowledge yourself, for example, for learning not to beat yourself up after making a mistake. Check in on the progress you’ve made. How far have you come since last Thanksgiving, or since last summer?
8.) Make a list of the people who have supported you in your life. Again, be specific; mention the ways in which those individuals have contributed to your progress and well-being. Be sure to include the neighbor who went out of her way to deliver a misdirected package, the customer service representative who circumvented several extra steps to resolve your cell phone issue, the farmers who provide you with delicious produce.
9.) Take the extra time to complete that survey at the end of a call when you have received excellent service, and, if you have noted it, mention the representative by name. Go out of your way to speak to a supervisor or a manager about an employee who has gone the extra mile to help you.
10.) Acknowledge everything you receive, notice simple pleasures, be thankful. Begin seeing that everything in your life is a miracle, worthy of your ultimate gratitude.
“If all of this [happiness, better sleep, less stress] happens when you focus for just 15-20 seconds on something that brings you pleasure, joy, or a feeling of gratitude, imagine what would happen to your health-and our world-if you were able to cultivate and express gratitude and appreciation on a regular basis. That’s pretty powerful stuff.”
–Christiane Northrup, M.D.
I am grateful for all of you who have read my blog over the past 11 years. You gave me an audience to write for.
Happy Thanksgiving! May gratitude fill your hearts all year long,
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You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided the above author credit is included.