We all know what it feels like to be thankful. Whether through a prayer or a simple moment of appreciation, we've all expressed gratitude for the good things in our lives, whether they be our present joys, our memories, or even just for hoping things stay awesome. It's all about recognizing the good stuff and realizing that it's not all just because of you – others, whether other people or a higher power regular folks or super cool beings, have helped make it happen.
The more we appreciate things, the more we find to appreciate. This is because feeling grateful makes us happier, plus it also sparks positive feelings for others, helps us relish life, and build more meaningful connections.
Recent research reveals that expressing gratitude isn't just soul-nourishing, it's also a boon for your mental and physical well-being.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons from the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough from the University of Miami conducted a study where participants were asked to write about specific topics weekly. One group focused on things they were grateful for, another on daily annoyances, and a third on any significant events, regardless of their nature. After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude showed increased optimism and a more positive outlook on life. They also exercised more and had fewer doctor visits compared to those who dwelled on sources of irritation.
Another leading researcher-psychologist Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, studied 411 people, having them try various positive psychology tasks compared to a control group writing about early memories. Writing and delivering a gratitude letter to an unsung hero resulted in an immediate and substantial increase in happiness, surpassing the effects of other activities, with the benefits lasting for a month.
Incorporate the magic of gratitude in your daily life by writing thank-you notes, keeping a gratitude journal, and repeating positive affirmations like these before bed:
- I am grateful for my life.
- I am grateful to be a part of this amazing universe.
- I am grateful for all the blessings in my life.
- I am grateful for my family.
- I am grateful for my friends.
- I am grateful to be housed & fed.
- I am grateful for every opportunity.
- I am grateful for my freedom.
- I am grateful for the beauty of nature around me.
- I am grateful to be able to count my blessings every day.
- I am grateful for the love I give & get.
- I am grateful that I'm able to make a difference in this world.
Guided gratitude meditation is another way. Find a comfortable spot, take deep breaths, and reflect on the things you're thankful for: your family, health, job, and friends. Send them love and gratitude, expressing appreciation for their role in your life. If your mind wanders, gently redirect it by focusing on your breath and returning to gratitude. Practice this daily for 30 minutes to experience a refreshing, light, and positive emotional uplift.
When you focus rather on the negatives, you tend to be more at risk for stress & stress-related illnesses, reduced energy, lack of motivation, etc. Gratitude, however, comes as a wholesome reward, which can be enhanced by meditation, prayer, walking in nature, etc. to work wonders for your physical and mental well-being.
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