What are you Grateful for?
In a study at the University of California at Davis, Professor Robert Emmons came up with some very interesting and illuminating results from his research project on gratitude and thankfulness. Professor Emmons found that people who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. In addition, participants who kept the journals were more likely to make progress towards their personal goals in life.
If the practice of gratitude is so beneficial to our overall well-being, how can we learn to cultivate it more? Our gut feeling is that the type of gratitude we normally experience when we see others that are less fortunate than ourselves is not enough. If it were, we would all be much happier as we are surrounded by evidence of the suffering of so many people in the world today. It seems that we need to look directly at our own lives in order to be truly grateful and thereby reap the benefits of gratitude.
The concept of gratitude is directly related to the idea of the power of positive thinking. Concentrating on what we do have versus what we don’t have seems to be the key. Reminding ourselves daily of all the things that come our way keeps us grounded in gratitude instead of wanting. At any given moment during the day we can stop in the moment and be thankful. Keeping a record of these moments, journaling, is what Professor Emmons recommends. When life becomes overwhelming, we can look back at our musings and see just how lucky we really are. As we remain in lockdown and adjusting to a different way of living during the current crisis, stop and consider what you have been given in life.
Are you blessed with financial security?
Do you have loving children, a supportive family?
A nice home?
Are you in good health?
Do you enjoy your work?
Do you have wonderful friends?
What does nature give to you?
Concentrate on what you do have and not what you lack.