I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. ~ Brene Brown
Of all the things that can make us happier and healthier, cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one of the simplest. Of course, cultivating the attitude comes from implementing a daily practice of gratitude, noticing the positives in your life, and mindful focus. Gratitude can alleviate stress and anxiety and studies have shown that it increases well-being and health.
A scientific study on gratitude by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough was performed called “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life“. Their research found that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience positive psychological and physical benefits of health as opposed to people who do not. Some of the benefits of gratitude that were found in the research included:
- Participants felt more overall well-being about their lives
- They experienced greater levels of joy and happiness
- They felt more optimistic about the future
- They reported less illness and less symptoms of stress
- They were inspired to exercise more regularly and reported more energy and enthusiasm
- They had more focus and achievement of personal goals
- The well-being translated to feelings and actions that assisted others
Gratitude is an empowering attitude and action that can positively impact our lives and the lives of those around us. By just taking a few minutes a day to really reflect and contemplate on gratitude, you can make a difference on your own well-being. Gratitude expands us beyond our limitations and fears and allows joy to flow through and from us. A gratitude practice also keeps us in the present moment and brings our focus to the positives of each day.
Ways to Cultivate an Attitude (and Practice) of Gratitude
Keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal – begin or end each day with a few moments reflection on the positives of your day. Use different words each day and really explore your feelings and why it made you feel good.
One of the earliest advocates of a daily gratitude practice was Dutch philosopher Rabbi Baruch Spinoza. In the seventeenth century, he suggested that each day for a month, we ask ourselves the following three questions:
- Who or what inspired me today?
- What brought me happiness today?
- What brought me comfort and deep peace today?
This practice, wrote Spinoza, would help us find more meaning and joy in our lives and would lead to profound inner transformation.
Give Thanks – the gratitude journal is a personal expression of gratitude, so make a conscious effort to spread the attitude of gratitude in a more outward manner. Send handwritten thank you letters spontaneously to friends, co-workers, family to tell them why you appreciate them. A note via email or even a shout-out on Social Media that shares your gratitude for a particular person passes the well-being along to them as well!
Birds of a Feather Flock Together – staying positive and maintaining an attitude of gratitude can be difficult if you are surrounded by negativity. You may even find that as you expand your own gratitude practice, you notice negativity from other people more strongly. Take some time to assess relationships and how they impact you. Surrounding yourself with people who are grateful, joyful, and successful promotes your own positivity.
Give Back – a powerful way to cultivate gratitude AND give thanks is to give back. Whether you are paying it forward at the coffee shop, volunteering your time, or organizing ways at work to be more active in the community, giving back is a wonderful cycle of positivity that boosts everyone involved. We are working with some businesses that are taking gratitude and giving back to the next level with events like Building Bikes, Empowering Children.
Increased emotional and physical well-being, more joy, empowerment, and setting yourself up for success at every level are just a few benefits of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Now tell us … What are you grateful for right now?
Fire Power Seminars is all about empowerment and gratitude! Brainstorm with us to kick-off some gratitude practices for team building today and be amazed at the personal and professional results. For more information, contact Karen at 954.232.4486 or Karen@FirePowerSeminars.com.