Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Rewards Of Living With Gratitude!

  

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." - Meister Eckhart 

 

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means:  grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.  

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what we have received in life...be it tangible (an actual gift/object) or intangible (a kind thought/action).   It encourages us to acknowledge the goodness in our lives.  In the process, we come to recognize that the source of goodness lies partially outside ourselves.  And so....gratitude helps us to connect to something larger than ourselves — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.  We learn to count our blessings and life's simple pleasures.  

Gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack to the abundance that is already present.  Much research has been done on the behavioural and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude. Research shows surprising life improvements.


Research Into Effects of Gratitude Practice


According to Harvard Medical School:  'Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better.'  In positive psychology research, gratitude shows strong and consistent association with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, deal with adversity, strengthen relationships, build resilience, improves health, and reduces stress.

Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami:  did a study asking participants to write a few sentences weekly focusing on particular topics.  The first group listed things to be grateful for, the second listed daily issues that aggravated them, and the third group listed issues that affected them (with no emphasis on the positive or negative aspect).  After 10 weeks the gratitude group showed more optimism, they felt better about life in general, they exercised more and had less GP visits than the aggravated group.

Studies looking at the benefit of gratitude in relationships:  showed that couples expressing gratitude, were more positive toward each other and more comfortable expressing their concerns about the relationship.

Research in the workplace shows that:  Managers who say thank you to their staff find that employees feel more motivated to work harder. 


Ways to Practice Gratitude:

 

Notice and Appreciate Daily Gifts and Simple Acts of Kindness:  Imagine not having the simplest pleasures of seeing or hearing?  Contemplate the kindness of others, the process, logistics and hard work, and effort, that goes into creating and providing you with things as simple as - water through a tap, the chair you sit on, the clothes you wear.  Give thanks for this

Write a Thank You note:  Let someone know what a difference they have made in your life. If you have not thanked them properly...do so now. 

Keep a Gratitude Journal:  Make a note daily, or whenever you can remember, of events or experiences in your day to be grateful for.  

Count Your Blessings:  Be grateful for all the things that worked out well for you in your day.  And...as you lay in bed before falling asleep, instead of counting sheep count your blessings.  Give thanks for all that you have, you could even start with something as small as your pillow; this will help you to relax and sleep much better.

Meditate:  Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment.  Be grateful for this moment. Take 10 minutes out of your day to sit still and mentally give thanks. 


When you practice gratitude you will begin to appreciate and notice the simple things in life. Learn to constantly look for the good...even in unpleasant situations...know that these moments are serving you and preparing you for greater things.  Instead of waiting for positive experiences to come to you....you can create them daily through mastering the practice of gratitude.  This practice will bring about great changes and rewards to your life!

A poem on Gratitude that you can read when you are having a tough day:


Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Author Unknown

With Love and Gratitude!
Jess
x

 health.harvard.edu, thechangeblog.com,

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