If Oprah says it, then it MUST be true! The same holds true for Dr. Oz in our society, right? (Imagine me rolling my eyes here…). Actually, did you see that Nell Stephenson of The Paleoista was featured on Dr. Oz last month? Woohoo! Way to go Nell!
I recently read that Oprah keeps a gratitude journal and recommends that we all do the same thing. Yes, Oprah has a lot to be grateful for in her life, but we all have so many blessings. In her “tweet,” recommending counting our blessings, she referenced an article which stated the following research:
He’s found that those who view life as a gift experience a boatload of benefits, from a better mood to stronger relationships to better health and resilience. Gratitude, in a sense, is a muscle and as such requires exercise to stay fit and functional.
A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison …
In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons and McCullough, 2003) …
Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions …
Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
SIMPLE WAYS TO START EXPRESSING GRATITUDE:
- Say thanks. Send a thank-you text message or email to someone who did something nice for you recently. Or write a longer letter, detailing how their act of generosity benefited you. Better yet, tell them in person.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Every morning (or evening), write down three to five things you’re grateful for. They can be simple things, or big things — the key is that they’re different every day. Think: What was surprisingly fun, exciting, or laugh-out-loud funny? What made you feel good or proud or connected to someone else?
- Use visual cues. Put notes or objects that elicit feelings or reminders of gratitude and put them in different places so you see them throughout the day to help set your gratitude habit.
- Remember the good times. Do a deep dive into some personal archives and reconnect with where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, and whom you’ve loved along the way.
I have always been one to give thanks – thank you notes, face-to-face appreciations, and counting my blessings each and every evening before bed. Those practices are all routine and habitual. I often, though, find myself smiling as I walk down the street, expressing gratitude for the simple things in life. It’s those simple blessings for which we are grateful, that make life so AWESOME.
Stay tuned for Awesome Ending Fridays…
and keep smiling a smile of gratitude.