Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude!
As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the habits I’m cultivating in 2015 is the habit of practicing gratitude as it can have a great impact on getting a healthy, happy glow.
In Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How Of Happiness, she says how 50% of our propensity for happiness is based on a genetic set point (what we’re born with and something we can’t influence very much) and only 10% is based on life circumstances (such as getting the promotion, getting married, buying the dream home). This leaves 40% that we can totally influence with our behaviour or what is known as ‘intentional activities’.
What this means is that we can be up to 40% happier in our lives without changing our circumstances one bit, and one of the key intentional activities is the practice of gratitude.
According to Dr. Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine, research shows that consistently grateful people are happier, more energetic, more hopeful, more helpful, more empathic, more spiritual, more forgiving, and less materialistic. They’re also less likely to be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, neurotic, or sick.
Dr. Lyubomirsky says that gratitude:
- Promotes appreciation of positive life experiences
- Helps build social bonds, strengthening existing connections and nurturing new ones
- Boosts self-worth and self-esteem and supresses harmful comparisons
- Helps people cope with stress and anxiety better so they can bounce back from difficulties quicker and easier
- Encourages caring acts and moral behaviour and discourages negative feelings and behaviours such as greed, bitterness, resentment and anger
Other health benefits of practicing gratitude include better sleep, better memory, reduced inflammation, strengthened immune system, increased creativity and an overall increased sense of well-being and quality of life.
All sound like pretty good benefits to come from very little work, eh?
One way of practicing gratitude is writing daily in a Gratitude Journal. This is one of the habits that I want to cultivate over the coming year. It’s a simple task that doesn’t take long at all.
All you have to do is jot down 3 – 5 things you are grateful for in a journal every day. I like to write down mine last thing at night before I go to sleep so as to finish my day on a positive note. The more specific you can be the better. For example rather than saying you are grateful for your health, you could say that you are grateful that you are fit enough to do a class in the gym and really enjoy it. It doesn’t have to do with health either, it could be something to do with work, relationships, a great experience, an achievement or it could be something a little mundane that people generally take for granted (like a home to go home to, an income, good friendships) – it’s totally personal and up to you. And some days you might repeat something you’ve said before. That’s ok as long as you are present with the gratitude.
So what are you grateful for today??