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Gratitude

Definition of gratitude: the state of being grateful: THANKFULNESS


Synonyms: appreciation, appreciativeness, gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks


Is it possible that two little words can change the way we view the world? These are words that we do not usually think of or pay much attention too. The words I am talking about are “Thank You.” Take ten seconds to think of the top people who have helped you become who you are. Have you told them “thank you” lately? We underestimate the power of gratitude. Research has shown how being more grateful in our daily lives can actually help us function better and feel better. When we are more gracious, we sleep better, we eat better, we are more generous, we recover better, we can fight off symptoms of depression easier, we are more energetic, more hopeful, and just experience more positive emotions overall. Gratitude is a great buffer against negative emotions such as envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It involves a focus on the present moment and appreciating what is instead of focusing on what could be. For some, gratitude is not a natural concept and must be developed. So how can we express this idea of gratitude on a more regular basis? Well…we have to be more intentional.


Another thought...have you thought of the importance of praise, admiration, and gratitude? Think about what genuine, specific praise does to someone in your life. When you genuinely thank someone for being a positive impact on your life in some way, you actually help that person increase their positive emotions for the day. Feeling valued and appreciated helps motivate us to continue positive works. Think about it. How likely are you to continue to give 100% in a job where you never hear, “Thank you so much for what you do” or “We love having you here. You are an important asset to our team.” How much more positive investments do you place into a relationship/friendship when the other party tells you often that they appreciate you. When we express gratitude, it is not only beneficial for ourselves but for those around us as well.


What can we appreciate? We can show gratitude to ourselves, to others, and for our lives. There is a type of psychology called positive psychology. Positive psychology has a goal to identify and enhance the human strengths and virtues that make life worth living. Below you can find the three interventions in positive psychology that can help us foster gratitude in our daily life:


1. Gratitude Journal


a. If you enjoy writing, like I do, try taking some time each day to write about three things that you are thankful for – no matter how big or small they may be. Notice how you feel about life once you do this daily for one week.


2. The Gratitude Visit


a. If there is someone who has had a significant, positive impact in your life, write them a letter. In this letter, state concrete reasons as to why you are grateful and thankful for them. Arrange a time to read this letter out loud to them. Notice how and the other person feel afterward.


3. Mindfulness Meditation


a. Mindfulness meditation is a focus on the present moment achieved through the directing of attention towards one’s immediate experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings with a sense of acceptance and non-judgment. Instead of focusing on what we should be feeling or experiencing, we are present and aware of how we are really feeling. It is not about trying to change anything, just tuning in to our experience at the moment. Search mindfulness meditation in YouTube and try a five minute practice each day.


Dr. Ashley's Gratitude Journal Entry 10.20.22

  1. I am grateful for my health.

  2. I am grateful that I have enough.

  3. I am grateful for those who love me.

  4. I am grateful that it is finally autumn! My favorite season!

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." - Melody Beattie

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