As the saying goes “practice makes perfect.” Having an attitude of gratitude remains one of the best ways to boost health and happiness. This notion of gratitude is something we need to nourish to feel the benefits. According to Dr. Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!, he cites recent studies on how a gratitude practice has a physical effect on the body:
- A gratitude practice reduces perceived stress by 28% and depression by 16%
- Gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Writing a letter of gratitude reduces feelings of hopelessness by 88% of suicidal inpatients and increases levels of optimism in 94% of them
- Gratitude is related to a 10% improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain.
An increase in well-being happens as you make a regular practice of gratitude. Simply believing you are grateful for all of your blessings does not bring more happiness. The beautiful thing about practicing gratitude, it’s a reminder of what’s going right in your life. When you focus more on what’s going well, you will notice and attract more good in your life. As bestselling Author Deepak Chopra says, “Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude.” — Deepak Chopra
Try one of these three ways to practice gratitude.
Gratitude Meditation –Settle into a quiet place and get comfortable and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and begin to release any tension in your body. Now place your attention on your heart. Breathe in and out a golden light in your heart. Be thankful for your heart center. Keep breathing in love and breathing out gratitude. Feel your heart expand to someone you love or loves you unconditionally. Stay here for a few moments. Now feel in your heart some of the things you are grateful for: like the abundance of nature, the beauty of life, so many blessings. Just breathe in love and breathe out gratitude. While in this stillness, spread gratitude to your loved ones… then expand out into the community. Continue to sit in stillness for a little while, saying “thank you.” After several minutes gently bring your body back to the room where you began. Remember to carry this gratitude for yourself and to all you meet throughout your day.
Gratitude Journal –I remember how Oprah Winfrey had shared this practice on her popular TV show and how this one thing shifted how she viewed herself and the world. Keep a special journal of gratitude. Write down three things you are grateful for every day. You may include a loved one, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, appreciation for material possessions, opportunities that came to you, gratitude for yourself and others. Include things that may have touched your soul or made you smile and appreciate. Some believe you should write down new things each day, but others say that’s not necessary to reap benefits.
Gratitude Jar– Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love has written about her personal practice of gratitude. For years she has kept a jar where she would jot down on scraps of paper things that made her happy that day and put them in a jar. This could be a fun practice that you could do with your children for feeling happier. Another bonus is that the jar can serve as inspiration when you want to feel more alive and connected.
Please try these and let me know how it goes or share what ways you have found to practice gratitude. I am so grateful to you who continue to read my blog posts! In fact, as my thank you click here to join my Inner Power Circle and receive a FREE Guided Meditation.
Wishing you peace,
Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist. Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to parents and children. Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com, for kids. You can connect with her on Facebook and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.