Gratitude is an emotion. It fills the heart with a sense of thankfulness that can – according to some research – increase one’s well-being.
It has been said that those who practice gratitude on a consistent basis are spending time and attention on the good news of their days. They grow in appreciation for what is available to them as well as for the unexpected joys that come to those who are looking for them. They also have decreased stress and greater acceptance of life’s ebb and flow.
One University of California psychologist suggests that making a list of what one is grateful for can be a reminder that the cup may, actually, always be ‘half-full.’ It is certainly a more uplifting attitude than that of the cup half-empty. And when that list is made at night, when the day is done, it becomes a nice way to wrap up the day. When practiced in the morning it is a great way to start the day. Either way it can improve the quality of one’s sleep and overall emotions.
If you are looking for ways to increase your gratitude practice, consider these:
Spend time noticing what’s new to be grateful for. Are there situations that have satisfying conclusions? Were there chance encounters that made for greater connections with the rest of the world? Did you learn or discover something new (and interesting) about the world you live in?
Expand the practice by talking about having a gratitude list. Sharing examples of what you are grateful for not only helps you ‘relive’ that special moment, it may also inspire others to start a practice of their own. Remember: Gratitude can be contagious.
Developing a practice of gratitude doesn’t happen overnight. Allow yourself time to get used to the exercise and to savor the rewards that can be reaped.