I heard the story of this guy named Matt who travelled the world. He wasn’t doing anything incredibly important or world-changing, but his little decision has made a lasting impact on mankind. It’s been dubbed “the Gratitude Dance.” To see how he made it possible…click HERE.
Today I want to talk about gratitude. John Milton said, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” The biggest thing that you can do to create a happier life is to practice a daily habit of gratitude. Being thankful and being grateful are slightly different concepts: when I think of being thankful, it is always for things that happen or things that I have. (I’m thankful for my family, I’m thankful for a car to drive, etc.) When I think of having gratitude, I always think that it goes a step further than just being thankful. It always strikes me that gratitude is appreciating life exactly how it is and appreciating the beautiful things rather than seeing the negative. Having an attitude of gratitude is what will transform a regular life into an extraordinary one.
According to Dr. S. Lyubomirsky (Author of “The How of Happiness”), there are 8 ways that gratitude increases happiness:
1. Increases ability to savor the moment.
2. Increases self worth, rewrites negative focus, “It could be worse” perspective
3. Development of coping skills: re-interpret the negative
4. Develop generosity and moral judgement
5. Strengthens appreciation in relationships, stronger connections, nurture new
6. Eliminates negativity, comparison, envy, jealousy, and competition
7. Dissolves greed, bitterness, fear, guilt, defensiveness, and anger. (Gratitude is incompatible with negative emotions.)
8. Conteracts hedonic adaptation. (She defines this as the set point of emotion. Any jump from the normal point of emotion will always return to the set point. In this instance, gratitude can bring up the set point so that your perspective will be more positive.)
There are so many ways to practice gratitude. I have recently completed a “gratitude project” where I recorded 3 things every day that I was grateful for, and I chose a person that I felt inclined to express gratitude to and wrote them a letter. This was such a good thing for me! I saw a change in just a few weeks of looking for good and have felt an overall boost in my attitude. I also was able to reflect on the meaningful relationships that I have in my life as well as experience the joy of expressing my gratitude to those loved ones.
Overall….gratitude is lovely. What are ways that you practice gratitude?