The Practice of Gratitude
As the new academic year begins, what habits are we going to continue, break or begin? I hope one that you will begin (or continue) is the practice of gratitude. Psychologists have found gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more emotions, specifically more positive emotions, enjoy positive experiences, increase their health, process and deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Gratitude can be felt and expressed in many ways. You can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.
Taking time each day to not only think about the things you are grateful for but why you are grateful for them and what your life would be like if you did not have these things in your life can directly affect your perception of life.
On Gratitude Friday take the time to be grateful, there are many ways you can do this. You can start a Gratitude Journal, write a thank you note to someone, thank someone in person, count your blessings, pray or meditate.
Or you can do what I did and create a Gratitude wordle by visiting http://www.wordle.net/ if it is your goal to include more gratitude in your life watch the Stewardship in Seconds Webinar Motivation and Goal Setting and fill out the SMART goal setting worksheet with the goal to include gratitude practice into your daily life.
How are you going to show gratitude today? Post your method in the comment section!
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Lambert NM, et al. "Expressing Gratitude to a Partner Leads to More Relationship Maintenance Behavior,"Emotion (Feb. 2011): Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 52–60.
Sansone RA, et al. "Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation," Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol. 7, No. 11, pp. 18–22.
Seligman MEP, et al. "Empirical Validation of Interventions," American Psychologist (July–Aug. 2005): Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 410–21.