Gratitude, the simple honest expression of giving thanks, is a powerful and universal phenomenon. There are sayings of gratitude all around this time of year.
It is not joy that makes us grateful it is gratitude that makes us joyful.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. -William Arthur Ward
Gratitude and its effects on health is also making headlines lately. Robert Emmons, PhD and Michael McCullough have done extensive research on the effects of gratitude. Here are some of their findings:
-Counting your blessing boosts your health. Research has shown that grateful people have less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy and greater optimism.
-The daily practice of gratitude through a gratitude journal or writing letters of thanks, slows down the effects of aging.
-The positive emotions attributed to gratitude significantly lowers levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body.
-Gratitude increases levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) in the body, resulting in better relationships.
-People who regularly gave thanks, achieved up to a 10-percentage reduction in systolic blood pressure and decreased their dietary fat intake by 20 percent.
-Gratitude increases happiness, promotes forgiveness, makes us more resilient and helps us to sleep better.
-Grateful people are more helpful, altruistic and compassionate.
Start your own gratitude journal this Thanksgiving. Grab a notebook and place it on your nightstand. Each night, write about three things you are grateful for. A gratitude journal has been proven to be one of the most powerful and well researched positive psychology tools you can use!
Try to write from some of these gratitude prompt:
-What is your happiest childhood memory?
-What is your favorite memory of your mother, father, siblings or family pet?
-How can you pamper yourself in the next 24 hours?
-What is a mistake I have made, that ultimately brought a positive experience?
-What do other people like about you?
-Who made you smile in the past 24 hours?
-Who is a teacher or mentor in your life that made an impact on you and why?
-Describe your favorite smell, sound, sight, taste, or sensation.
-How is your life more positive today than it was one year ago?