Maybe you’re not so sure about this whole gratitude practice I’m proposing. Do you wonder if taking time for focussed, intense thanksgiving really is a key to living more joyfully?
The answer is yes! Absolutely, positively. Or, as my Daddy-O used to say, absotutely. And people who are a lot smarter than I am agree.
Dr. Robert Emmons, a University of California, Davis professor, spent eight years researching this and is one of the country’s foremost experts on gratitude. (Who knew there was such a thing??) His lengthy study found living gratefully pays off. It improves physical and emotional health, and makes relationships and communities better. Dr. Emmons calls gratitude “transformational” and says it gives you more energy and helps you deal with tragedy and crisis.
Other university research studies have drawn the same conclusions and experts, including the wonderful Brene Brown, concur. Brene (I call her by her first name because we should definitely know one another) found during twelve years of research that people who describe themselves as joyful had something else in common: They actively practice gratitude daily. Actively. That means making a list or saying it out loud or sharing your points of gratitude around the dinner table.
The bottom line is this: Gratitude matters if you want a happy life.
So tuck your doubts away. Don’t let them stop you from reaping the benefits of thankful living.
Find a quiet place. Close your eyes and go deep. Focus intently only on the things you are grateful for. Say them out loud or write them down, lingering on each one and basking in your good fortune. Don’t rush. This might feel contrived at first. That’s okay. Just keep going. It will get easier and the benefits will be yours for the taking.
I need your help spreading joy far and wide. Please pass this on to others. No doubt they'll be grateful. And so will I.
It’s Day 2 of The Big Joy of Little Things and I am grateful for….
5. God. And Jesus. And the Holy Spirit. Because I believe they are the source of my blessings. Okay, this isn’t a Little Thing. It’s huge. We can count the big things, too.
6. My sweet cleaning man who came and got the house back in order yesterday, saving us a visit from the health department. And saving my marriage.
7. My friend, Pam, kicking my butt and pushing me hard at the gym. I’m also grateful and proud that I went because I wanted to sleep in. Like, REALLY wanted to sleep in.
8. My thirteen year old who is a smiling, charming, sweet ray of sunshine. I badly needed that today. Actually I need that kid every day.
What are you grateful for? Want help getting in the gratitude habit? Sign up here and I'll send you a reminder. Science says it's a good idea.