We hear about gratitude again and again. The suggestion is scrolled on home decor and journal covers. But why? What is it about this emotion that makes it so magical and sets it apart from the others? Quite a lot, actually.
More than any other character trait, gratitude is strongly linked to mental health and life satisfaction.
Not only is feeling grateful warm and uplifting, but it also benefits the body as well. People who regularly experience gratitude cope better with stress, recover more quickly from illness, and enjoy more robust physical health.
Grateful people experience more joy, love, and enthusiasm, and they are guarded against destructive emotions like envy, greed, and bitterness.
Unlike other positive emotions like hope and happiness, gratitude is inherently relational: it reaches past the person experiencing it and into the social realm.
It is gratitude in large measure that inspires people to acts of kindness since it’s natural to respond to gifts with heartfelt gifts of your own. That strengthens your bonds with other people.
Grateful people are rated by others as more helpful, outgoing, optimistic, and trustworthy.
How to Truly Unlock the Magical Power of a Grateful Heart
Often, negative experiences stick while the positive experiences slip away leaving an unbalanced internal feeling.
Many people make lists or keep a journal of things they’re grateful for. But there is a key component to a gratitude practice that TRULY reveals the magic of this powerful emotion.
Here’s the trick!
Write I am grateful for…..
Include only what you are feeling grateful for in this exact moment. It could literally be something from, “I am grateful for my breath, ” to “I am grateful for my comfy sheets.” Focusing on ‘in the moment’ expressions of gratitude wires your brain to pay attention to the positive feelings, allowing you to notice them more strongly throughout the day.
When you have a list of 3-5 things, close your eyes, breathe deeply and focus on the feeling those things bring. Comfort, joy, warmth, happiness, relaxation…whatever positive emotions appreciating the items on your list brings, hold onto them as long as you are able.
Complete the practice by stating an affirmation such as,
“I appreciate everything I have in my life and keep the door open for more goodness.”
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