Gratitude – it’s good for you!

in Wellness
gratitude2“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” ~Harold Kushner

Take a few seconds and think of 3 things that you are most grateful for….  how do you feel? Are you smiling?  Happy people actively exercise gratitude, choosing to live with an attitude of gratitude. The happiest people can move beyond that biological set point. (Because let’s face it, we all vary in the degree of gratitude that comes naturally.) Research clearly shows that developing habits and practices, such as mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and prayer, can transform our lives for the better. By actively practicing gratitude, we can actually raise our “happiness set-point,” regardless of the situation and no matter the circumstance.

Appreciation makes us aware and mindful of the blessings present in our life, from moment to moment. There is always something to be grateful for if you are fully engaged in what’s happening in the now!  Try to live in the moment and notice the blessings around you, instead of replaying the past or worrying about the future that you currently can’t control.  When you are ready to face or deal with those tough situations, you will be in a better place to manage or conquer the circumstance…surrounded by positive thought.

Here are 10 reasons practicing gratitude should be on your “to do” list:
  1. Improves confidence in ourselves (especially through change)
  2. Strengthens immune system (improves resiliency)
  3. Promotes forgiveness (of self and others)  
  4. Improves sleep
  5. Fosters a feeling of connection (less lonely)
  6. Increases energy
  7. Brings more happiness = deeper life satisfaction
  8. Reduces anxiety and depression
  9. Strengthens relationship (makes us feel more confident and committed)
  10. Increases clarity, memory, and creativity

BONUS: We appear more attractive to others!

To experience these benefits, we must become intentional and mindful!  For some, gratitude comes easy and for others it takes more practice to develop gratitude and raise the “happiness/glass half-full set point”.

Incorporate one or more of these practices into your daily life: 
  • Keep a “Gratitude Journal” for one week.  Create your own or purchase….here is one of my favorites but there are tons to choose from.  Find one that resonates with you!
  • Every morning, start your day with a simple gratitude exercise that involves writing down 3-10 things you are grateful for, no matter how big or small. ( I did this exercise for 1 month listing 20 things every day – wow, one of the best experiences…still wondering why I didn’t keep it up!) 
  • Set your phone timer for 3-5 minutes and sit still, quiet your mind, and breath deep. Bring to mind all you appreciate in a free-form stream of consciousness, without any editing. (Don’t worry if it makes sense or not.)
  • For a week, write one thank you note per day, to tell someone how much you appreciate them and why.
  • Practice self-appreciation. Take time for seven days in a row to write yourself a note of gratitude.
  • Pick out 3 things in your day that are beautiful. Take time to notice and appreciate them in the moment and then write them down.

You will be amazed at how effortless recognizing these moments of grace starts to become. These small blessings cultivate a beautiful abundance of love and joy, and can aid you tremendously in your journey of making healthful lifestyle change.

 When you are grateful, change is more achievable!

Love yourself and others, give yourself grace, embrace healthy change, and you will live life ABUNDANTLY!

LEAVE A COMMENT: I would love to hear about your favorite “gratitude practice” OR how adding a gratitude practice has impacted your life…

With Joy & Gratitude for YOU!     ~Julie

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