Gratitude is powerful. It makes us feel happier, healthier and more hopeful. Life flows when we are more grateful. And it’s not just us who benefit; imbuing our lives with daily gratitude has the power to ripple outwards to everyone and everything we come into contact with.
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We often blame our worst tendencies, like aggression and competition, on our evolutionary history. It’s important to remember that some of our most positive qualities like empathy and gratitude are also a part of this history.
Explore this selection of books to introduce you to the benefits and applications of gratefulness, gratitude and grateful living, and/or enrich your practice through deepened understanding of the science and wisdom behind these transformational approaches to life, ourselves and each other...
Gratitude has become a hot topic in recent years. Celebrities from Oprah to James Taylor to Ariana Huffington have promoted an “attitude of gratitude,” and gratitude journals, hashtags, and challenges have become immensely popular. Much of this enthusiasm has been fueled by researchlinking gratitude to happiness, health, and stronger relationships.
With the rise of managed health care, which emphasizes cost-efficiency and brevity, mental health professionals have had to confront this burning question: How can they help clients derive the greatest possible benefit from treatment in the shortest amount of time?
Recent evidence suggests that a promising approach is to complement psychological counseling with additional activities that are not too taxing for clients but yield high results. In our own research, we have zeroed in on one such activity: the practice of gratitude. Indeed, many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.
If there were a simple solution proven to lead to fewer sick days, higher team morale, happier customers, and a more pleasant work environment, you’d probably give it a whirl, right? What if it could also make you physically and mentally healthier, and even extend your lifespan?
Good news: this magic cure exists—and it’s free and accessible to everyone.
Study after study has shown gratitude helps people become healthier, happier, and more successful, and it can impact your business in the same ways.
Gratitude, or appreciation for the good things that happen in life, is an essential part of building happiness. When you’re going through a tough time it can be hard to remember to be grateful for the good stuff, but there are a stack of benefits that can be gained from working gratitude into your everyday life. Find out more about ways to increase your gratitude and your awareness of things you can be grateful for.
I am a big believer in using the power of gratitude to create positive changes. Being constantly aware of your many blessings, and feeling grateful for them, can have a huge impact on the quality of your life. When you are filled with appreciation, it quite literally changes the dynamic of your reality.
There are just so many benefits of using a gratitude journal that I can’t possibly mention them all in one go.
I love learning about new research that shows how gratitude can do this or that BUT as with any research, it always sits much better with me if I know personally, or know of someone who can vouch for it personally as well.
This is the reason why I love teaching people about the amazing benefits you can gain by practising gratitude, and why I try and get parents to teach their kids to use gratitude and for schools to implement gratitude as part of their day… because it is JUST SO GOOD!
A gratitude diary is simply a diary or journal that you keep to regularly to write down things you are thankful/grateful for. It’s a way to record positive thoughts to help boost your mood and attitude. In a way, it aids in the power of positive thinking, because when you see in writing all of the positive things in your life, your thoughts and peace of mind should reflect positively as well.
Gratitude journals, #grateful quotes, appreciation lists, oh my! Expressing gratitude seems to be a growing trend right now, but are these seemingly small practices of expressing gratitude enough to have an impact on our overall well-being?
New research by Stephen Yoshimura and Kassandra Berzins for the National Communication Association’s Review of Communication shows that, “Gratitude consistently associates with many positive social, psychological, and health states, such as an increased likelihood of helping others, optimism, exercise, and reduced reports of physical symptoms.”
Vulnerability expert Dr. Brene Brown talks about the relationship between joy and gratitude and offers a few tips on how to cultivate more joy in your own life.
1. Keep a gratitude journal. Writing frequently in a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to begin your practice. Set aside a certain number of things to write down throughout the day. Don’t worry about being regimented, but look for the goodness in every situation, savoring every moment you have to reflect.
Consider: Who or what inspired me today? What brought me joy today? What brought me comfort and deep peace today?
It's no secret that gratitude is good for us, whether we're on the giving or receiving end. Multiple research studies have confirmed that practicing thankfulness increases our life satisfaction and leads to strong relationships. It's not hard to understand why being thanked provides a boost since we all like to feel appreciated. But why is it helpful to be thankful, and what gratitude practices lead to the most benefit?
In our fifth annual Top 10 Insights from the Science of a Meaningful Life list, practices that involve thinking of other people, such as keeping a gratitude journal or performing acts of kindness, were found to bring strong personal benefits, like a healthier heart or a better sex life. And practices that seem to focus on the self, such as mindfulness and self-compassion, were linked to benefits for others, whether by fostering moral behavior or making you a better parent.
Gratitude is an important aspect of human sociality, and is valued by religions and moral philosophies. It has been established that gratitude leads to benefits for both mental health and interpersonal relationships. It is thus important to elucidate the neurobiological correlates of gratitude, which are only now beginning to be investigated. To this end, we conducted an experiment during which we induced gratitude in participants while they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging. We hypothesized that gratitude ratings would correlate with activity in brain regions associated with moral cognition, value judgment and theory of mind. The stimuli used to elicit gratitude were drawn from stories of survivors of the Holocaust, as many survivors report being sheltered by strangers or receiving lifesaving food and clothing, and having strong feelings of gratitude for such gifts. The participants were asked to place themselves in the context of the Holocaust and imagine what their own experience would feel like if they received such gifts. For each gift, they rated how grateful they felt. The results revealed that ratings of gratitude correlated with brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, in support of our hypotheses. The results provide a window into the brain circuitry for moral cognition and positive emotion that accompanies the experience of benefitting from the goodwill of others.
Comparing handwriting vs. typing, you’re more exposed to critical thinking when you write by hand than when you type. Handwriting allows you to think more thoroughly about the information you’re recording. It encourages you to expand upon your thoughts and form connections between them. This can be further enhanced by using different colored pen types as a color-coding system to organize thoughts and form more connections.
A recent Wall Street Journal article about raising kids with gratitude acknowledged a growing interest in the area of gratitude in the younger generation. The piece cited studies showing that kids who count their blessings reap concrete benefits, including greater life satisfaction and a better attitude about school. Sounds good, right?
"...practicing gratitude seems to kick off a healthful, self-perpetuating cycle in your brain -- counting your blessing now makes it easier to notice and count them later. And the more good you see in your life, the happier and more successful you're likely to be. Or, as Jarrett sums up the research: "The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits."
"I’m very comfortable with fear being a part of my life, every day. I think we’re not just always emerging, as in phases of our life when we have new challenges and new opportunities to creatively express ourselves; we’re actually emerging fresh in every moment. We’re always truly emerging."