Definition: ‘the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful’
The practice of gratitude is to show appreciation and thankfulness for the positives in the world and also your personal life, rather than focus on any negatives. In real-terms this is the shift of focus from what you don’t have to what you do have… no one said it was easy to practice gratitude; we ALL know it takes some effort to find positives in all situations (I guess that is why we call it a ‘practice’…. you have to practice in order to be good at it!).As my previous posts have indicated, I have just started to read We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel. This manifesto is a guide to help ‘WE women’ to live more fulfilled and content lifes and to achieve this there are a number of exercises/practices in which to assist WE.
The first practice that you are instructed to carry out, as part of daily routine, (and by no coincidence) is the practice of ‘Gratitude’. In more detail, the book asks you to write a daily list of at least 10 things that you are grateful for in your life/day/moment – this is called ‘Gratitude Journalling’ and is not a concept that has been thought up by the authors, but one that is used by many people across the globe as a tool for staying positive.
The idea of possessing an attitude of gratitude and the benefits that this may have to a person’s life is not something that is new to me, either. I am a fan of a self-help/personal development/mindfulness book (or ten!) and the practice of being thankful is a common subject throughout most of this kind of literature, that I have read.
Gratitude is not just said to have benefits, but is scientifically proven to benefit a person who regularly practices gratitude. Science tells us that am “attitude of gratitude” is a good health choice!
A person who feels thankful for their life, or sees the positives in situations, will have greater self-esteem and so will have a reduced level of stress. A reduction in stress will no doubt create increased mental strength, therefore a higher ability to overcome trauma (or deal with traumatic circumstances). Someone who is more calm of mind will naturally have more sleep and so will be more ‘physically well’, along with being less aggressive and will have a higher level of empathy that leads to better emotional relationships and friendships… we could be here a while, but you get the picture!
Some not-so-scientifically-proven benefits are highlighted in books such as The Secret, by Rhonda Bryne. The Secret is just one of many books (although, probably the most famous of them all) that outlines gratitude as being the single best way to change and make improvements in your life. The ‘universal law of attraction’ says that we will attract into our life the things we think about and focus on, so if we focus on the good in the world then we will attract more of this (if you focus on the bad.. you get the picture! ).
The idea here is that if you are grateful for ‘good comings’ and express this to the universe then you will receive more back, in abundance. For example, if you enjoy a meal and are grateful that you have food on your plate and show gratitude to the universe for this, then the universe will provide more food to you in the future.. ‘airy-fairy’ as this might be, or not, I’m not going to try prove the universe wrong!
Let the gratitude journalling commence… can only be a good thing, right?!