In this busy holiday season, it is easy to get swept away with all the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, entertaining and traveling. This year, as you sit down to a delicious holiday meal and gather to visit with friends and family, take a moment to realign yourself with the wisdom and power of gratitude. Silently, or maybe even as a group, take a moment to give thanks for all the bounty in your life. Give thanks for the many blessings, the strange circumstances and the people with you right now. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons for the season?
Researchers are revealing the amazing emotional and physical effects of expressing gratitude. In one study, participants were asked to write down what they were grateful for daily for a consecutive ten weeks. At the end of the ten weeks, participants were found to be more optimistic, more positive about their lives, and reported visiting the doctor less. In another study, participants showed an enormous surge in happiness scores after being asked to write a thank you letter to someone who had positively impacted their life.
The positive effects of gratitude are not limited to any particular group. Researchers found that couples who frequently express gratitude to each other feel more positive about the relationship and more comfortable when expressing relationship concerns. Workplace studies have shown the benefits of employers expressing gratitude for their employees too. Employees who are thanked by their managers tend to work harder and report a greater job satisfaction.
Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, gave a very important lecture on the subject of creativity, censorship and the human spirit to the Library of Congress in 1983.
“We find what we are looking for. If we are looking for life and love and openness and growth, we are likely to find them. If we are looking for witchcraft and evil, we’ll likely find them.”
It only takes a second to give thanks for the small things in our days like a parking spot at the store, a stranger’s smile and the food on your dinner table. Try looking for — and hence, finding — all there is to be grateful for in your life and see how it transforms your attitude, health and outlook.
Perhaps make it a New Year’s Resolution to take time for gratitude each day of 2017 and see what happens. A dedicated Gratitude Journal makes a nice memory to look back on anytime.
Here are some suggestions for increasing gratitude in your life:
- Start your day with making a list of a few of the things you are grateful for.
- Write a thank you letter to someone who changed your life for the better.
- Make a list of 50 things you appreciate about yourself.
- In the evening, reflect on the day and think of 5 things for which you are grateful.
At Heart of Wellness we know the importance of practicing gratitude on a daily basis and we want to help you feel its wonderful benefits. So come on in, have a cup of hot tea and learn techniques for feeling more grateful for the things in your life.
Contact our office at (360) 570-0401 to schedule a free consult with any of our practitioners. Come see the difference our approach to health care can make in your life!