GRATITUDE

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich”
–Dietrich
Bonhoeffer

 

Over my many years of studies, I have been blessed with learning experiences through the wisdom of many incredible mentors, professors, and friends and family who have touched my life. I continue to benefit so much by the work of Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., the world’s leading expert on the psychology of gratitude that I just must share more about him with all of you. Dr. Emmons contends that promoting a national state of gratitude would definitely change our world as much, if not more than, anything else our government, education and business leaders could possibly recommend ~ I AGREE!!

I met Dr. Emmons when he gave a lively presentation, “What Good is Gratitude: The Memory of the Heart and the Science of Well-Being”, at the same conference in Sedona, AZ., at which I was presenting my dissertation research and hands-on work I do in stress management through mindful awareness and relaxation practices ~~ I did just fine, AND he was a HIT!

He started his presentation with this quote about gratitude and its benefits: You feel a deep sense of peace and internal balance  – you are at harmony with yourself, with others and with your larger environment. You experience increased buoyancy, vitality and flow. Your senses are enlivened – every aspect of your perceptual experience seems richer, more textured. Surprisingly, you feel invigorated at times when you would usually have felt tired and drained. Things that usually would have irked you just dont get to you as much. Your body feels regenerated – your mind, at last, clear… At least for a period of time, decisions become obvious as priorities clarify and inner conflict dissolves. Intuitive insight suddenly provides convenient solutions to problems that had previously consumed weeks of restless thought. Your creativity flows freely. In this state of inner harmony and deep fulfillment, you experience a sense of greater connectedness – to other people, to a larger whole, perhaps to God, or to a higher aspect of yourself.”  (from his book, entitled “THANKS! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier”)

SO, what is the BEST Rx for enhancing our “gratitude scale”? ~~ How can we open our hearts more widely to others?

Let’s look at some of the practices we can experiment with, on our ‘road’ to opening our hearts, our minds, and using our energy to live more fully in daily life:

1) Make a vow to practice gratitude in quiet ways … doing little things, random acts of kindness, and then just keeping them in our own hearts and souls.

2) Keep a gratitude journal. Then add to this journal daily, weekly, monthly (whatever works in your schedule, but DO keep a schedule!)

3) As a monthly practice, make a personal list of 50 things you are grateful for, with no repetition.

4) Watch language use in daily life ~ watch what you say and the tone in which you say it.

5) Communicate thanksgiving in letters, emails, telephone conversations (verbal AND texting) and other forms of communication.

6) FOR ONE WEEK:

Every morning: Record 5 things you are looking forward to during your day that you know are going to take place;

Every evening: Record 5 unexpected things that you were grateful that happened this day (that you did not know would happen!);

At the end of the week: Notice how you feel …

7) Check out this wonderful video ~ I keep it bookmarked and go back to it often…!! https://www.youtube.com/embed/gXDMoiEkyuQ

 

GRATITUDE IS A CHOICE ~~ LIVE FULLER ~~ KEEP PRACTICING!