Is it possible that there is a single solitary action that you can undertake that will immediately improve your mood, health, well being? Can there be a single thing that you can undertake to do that has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, increase endorphine production and if all of those things happen, especially if they happen all together and often they are a definite life lengthener. Obviously there is something and unless you’ve missed the theme for this month I bet you already know what it is.
Could gratitude really truly do all of those things. Will it improve your mood, health, well being. Yes, because when you focus on things that you are grateful for – that is how you feel gratitude – you are contacting your pleasure centres. All be it in a round about way if you have to work out why you are grateful for something that really pisses you off.
Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation or the quality (or feeling) of being grateful or thankful*1: also readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
When I was introduced to Nichiren Bhuddism, it took a while to really understand and feel the benefits of looking for the lesson in difficult situations. It is still a struggle, I can only be amazed at my attachment to (belief in the necessity of) struggle. Although I experience directly and see in my practise that holding on to resentment, rage, pain, negative judgement may seem like the only or logical choice. Letting it go is a healthy choice, finding a learning or instruction to improve one’s travel through life is even better.
I know being grateful is good for me. Turns out I’m not the only one who’s sussed it. There is an abundance of information all over the web here are a couple I especially liked
Amit Amin on happierhuman.com goes over every single one of the above with the data to support their claims, unlike me they began with a sceptical view.. But check this out, also from the same page. So start your gratitude journal, just before you go to bed/sleep write down five things you are generally grateful for or can be grateful for from the day just passed. Express gratitude to your colleagues, co students, neighbours, associates, everyone it makes people like you more too!
There are 25 items in the box above but this article actually lists 31 benefits to gratitude.
The Positive Psychology Program.com has 10 definitions of gratitude a list of synonyms, some great quotes and a plethora of articles. I would suggest avoiding getting on their email list, however the article covers; two stages of gratitude, the purpose of gratitude, why gratitude works, whether it is a trait or state? Philosophical, religious/spiritual perspectives and modern psychological perspectives as well as the effects of gratitude, then there’s gratitude in relationships, and how to apply gratitude to your life. There are lots and lots of quotes, data and references.
Bottom line I’m always moanin about out monthly themes. I am very grateful for them, they irritate me and like an oyster they create the kern of my writing, which might not be a pearl to you however… On our Alwareness.com website which I’m sure you visit regularly the ‘maandthema’ is Gratitude Yes or No? It could be argued that even inviting people to choose is a form of abuse. The question should be Gratitude – Why?!