Gratitude is one of the main cornerstones in positive psychology. In a recent Wall Street Journal Article An Attitude Of Gratitude the author Jennifer Wallace discussed how children today are less grateful and how studies show that we can and should cultivate gratitude in our families, schools and communities. Where do we begin? Best place is with our selves. When we begin to cultivate an attitude of Gratitude in our own lives others around us will pick up on it.
Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is one of the foremost authorities on the topic of gratitude in North America.
“Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing and impoverished,” said Emmons. “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.”
Gratitude cannot only improve your life and well being it can also have an effect on your physical health. The research shows that if you begin a gratitude journal every night and list three things you are grateful for you will begin to notice a change in your happiness quotient. By focusing on gratitude, and changing it up every evening, you begin to change how you view every day experiences. You will begin to experience more positive emotions and believe it or not you will begin to look at each day for those things you can be grateful for.
Saying Thank you is another simple way to begin. How many times have you said thank you to your spouse for doing something like taking out the garbage? We take it for granted when we should express our gratitude. This is also a great place to begin in the family because as you say thank you more often your children will mirror you and do the same. After I traveled a long distance to go see my granddaughter in her play she sent me a small box filled with cardboard stars that said Thank You on them. I put them up all over my house as not only something that will remind me of her and that experience to uplift my heart but also to always remember my gratitude for everything in my life. Just say Thank You more often, to others as well as to myself, and my body.
I have recently been looking at how we can create more gratitude in our work lives. We all tend to have a negativity bias.Gratitude is the antidote. Robert Emmons explains how gratitude can not only make us happier but also improve our relationships and performance at work. Plenty of evidence suggests that actively practicing gratitude makes you feel better and has a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships, and quality of work. Gratitude makes being at both work and home more positive experiences. Gratitude promotes innovative thinking, flexibility, openness, curiosity, and love of learning seeking opportunities to learn and develop.
Grateful people have more empathy, higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality and lower levels of depression and stress. Grateful people spend less time on social comparison and share their time and generosity with others. Begin now, begin with yourself, as Gandhi said, “ Be the change you want to see in the world.” I am grateful to all of you for signing up for my blog and reading it. Share with me some of your grateful experiences and thoughts. Thank you.