The process of gratitude has profound transformational power. Gratitude, as a universal human experience, is found in the sacred writings, prayers, and is pervasive in teachings of all true religions. Positive social psychologists, Dr. Nansook Park and Dr. Chris Peterson described gratitude as one of the “transcendent virtues;” those that strengthen bonds and connections with entities beyond the self. Dr. Robert Emmons, one of the foremost researchers of gratitude, describes “transpersonal gratitude,” an experience between people, as a feeling of overwhelming gratefulness. He calls it “a stellar moment and a blessing in life.”
Emmons and McCullough conducted research where they asked volunteers to remember “things you were “grateful for,” “hassles,” and “life events.” All the research subjects kept records of their moods, life satisfaction, physical symptoms, and coping behaviors. In ALL cases, those in the “grateful for” group exhibited higher levels of well-being and positive emotions, including joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness and optimism!
Gratitude builds health, happiness, and boosts performance, well being and meaning in our lives. Each of us possesses a “highly complex, sophisticated, and effectively integrated network between our mind and body. Every change in mental-emotional states is consciously or unconsciously accompanied by an appropriate change in bodily state. Can you imagine what would happen if we all applied more acts and awareness of gratitude in our lives? Can you imagine the power of mindfully introducing changes and primes for a more grateful whole life?
Here are some tips to guide you toward the journey of gratitude:
1. Write gratitude letters; speak from the heart and be specific in your authentic appreciation. Hand delivery of the letter is best!
2. Create a gratitude journal by writing 3-5 things for which you are grateful. Do this once a week so all of the things you are grateful for are noted in the same place.
3. Notice 3 Blessings daily. Before bed, or anytime, think of you what are grateful for that day.
4. Cultivate accountability partners and/or an Aristotelian friend to travel the gratitude journey with you.
5. Create a “gratitude wall of appreciation” as shown in our featured image. Contemplative, visual, engaging and fun!
Emmons shows recognizing and acknowledging what we are grateful for (our wins, blessings) impacts our happiness significantly and spiritually. Thank you for reading, and please enjoy:
An Asian parable of Gratitude:
Each morning Haikun walked a mile to the spring to gather a bucket of water for her family. Haikun would walk back to the spring at night, and return any leftover water to the spring, giving gratitude to nature, Mother Earth.
“Remember the spring.”