Gratitude is an expression of thanks for gifts we have received. Scientists are finding that an attitude of gratitude is a powerful contributor to a happy life. Some believe that it may be the single most effective way to increase happiness.
The idea of receiving a gift is central to the concept of gratitude. While merely appreciating something for its positive qualities does have a positive impact on our lives and emotions, gratitude takes the next step beyond. Gratitude happens when we go beyond just appreciating something to acknowledging that we have received a gift that we did nothing to earn or deserve. On some level, the warm emotional rush we feel when we really feel gratitude is very much like the glow we feel from realizing we are unconditionally loved.
Research shows that practicing an attitude of gratitude may be the fastest single pathway to happiness, health, long life, and prosperity. It has been found that people who keep a list or a gratitude journal report a great life satisfaction. They exercise more, enjoy life more and their families and friend notice that they are nicer to be around. People who take the time to admire and appreciate the good things that come their way through grace, luck or the goodness of others are happier and more peaceful.
Grateful people typically do better on cognitive tests and have great problem-solving skills. They practice healthier habits, have better relationships, are more optimistic, and live longer. Gratitude is a powerful basic human emotion.
Think about this: we are wearing clothes others made for us, eating food others grew and prepared for us, using tools others designed and fabricated and taught us how to use, and are even speaking words others defined and explained. The list goes on and on... Any verb we can think of -- sleep, play, drive, work, watch, bathe -- can be followed by a phrase attributing the action to some supporting role by others. There really is nothing we do that is thanks to our own efforts alone!
We can distinguish between feeling grateful and being grateful. Feeling grateful is a response to a benefit, while being grateful is a way of life. Gratitude has the power to heal, to energize, and to change lives.
Developing gratitude is surprisingly easy. Here are five proven methods:
Keep a gratitude journal. Every day write about the good things that happened to you that day.
Write a letter of appreciation. Take two minutes each day and send a quick email or text to people who have helped you.
Make a gratitude visit. Gratitude is a powerful emotion for both the giver & receiver. Deliver your message in person.
Make a gratitude list. Each day create a list 3 to 5 things you are grateful for and WHY you are grateful for them.
Take a gratitude walk. Focus on deepening your gratitude as the movement and variety of walking helps your brain and heart to work better.
Start today and you can enjoy a happier life now!
I know I'm thankful for you! XO
Why do we do the things we do? Despite our best attempts to "know thyself," the truth is that we often know astonishingly little about our own minds, and even less about the way others think. As Charles Dickens once put it, “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
Psychologists have long sought insights into how we perceive the world and what motivates our behavior, and they've made enormous strides in lifting that veil of mystery. Aside from providing fodder for stimulating cocktail-party conversations, some of the most famous psychological experiments of the past century reveal universal and often surprising truths about human nature.
We only need one thing to be happy.
The 75-year Harvard Grant study --one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies ever conducted -- followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates from the classes of 1938-1940 (now well into their 90s) for 75 years, regularly collecting data on various aspects of their lives. The universal conclusion? Love really is all that matters, at least when it comes to determining long-term happiness and life satisfaction.
The study's longtime director, psychiatrist George Vaillant, told The Huffington Post that there are two pillars of happiness: "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away." For example, one participant began the study with the lowest rating for future stability of all the subjects and he had previously attempted suicide. But at the end of his life, he was one of the happiest. Why? As Vaillant explains, “He spent his life searching for love.”
At first glance, it may seem like a subtle distinction, but the worlds of motivation and inspiration are a million miles apart.
Many people use the words “motivated” and “inspired” interchangeably. But a closer look may change your perspective.
We seem to need motivation to get stuff done. Typically there’s a lot of “measuring” that happens in the realm of motivation. Check lists and goal posts. There is often a fear of loss involved. We are on duty. All perfectly natural.
But beyond finish lines and good jobs, is a different call. The word inspiration means to be in spirit. When you’re tuned into your spirit, it is magnetic and progressive. Its reasoning cannot always be reasoned -- I just gotta do it. You are launched into the unfenced field of freedom and possibilities.
So, motivation is about things that you think you should do or that you’re supposed to do. Inspiration is about being called to act because you’re in direct alignment with the magnetic, luminous potential that is you.
A look at the difference...
You run the 5k to lose weight, stay in shape, raise money for cancer. It’s on your bucket list. Achievement is thrilling.
The runner’s high. My body simply has to run. When I run, I feel closer to life.
You write the book, the blog, the brochure to raise your profile so you can sell more stuff, serve more people. You compose and package your thoughts. A 1000 words a day until you’ve crossed the finish line.
I have something to say that needs to be heard. When I write I feel bigger, freer, like God is using me well.
Continual inspiration is about continual realignment
You might be thinking… “How do I get inspired?” Well, you can’t. Inspiration isn’t something you get, it comes from within, it comes from your core.
What inspires you?
Community Commerce Leader, Author, Speaker, Nutrition & Fitness Coach
Grab A Button