Gratitude. What's Not To Like?
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
Gratitude is a way for us to appreciate what we have instead of wanting more, always needing something new in the hope it can make us happier or feeling we are not satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps us refocus on what we have instead of what we don’t have.
A leading scientific expert on Gratitude Robert Emmons believes that there are two key components to gratitude:
“First it is an affirmation of Goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. For the second part he explains “we recognise that the sources of goodness are outside of ourselves... We acknowledge that other people...gave us many gifts, big and small to help us achieve the goodness in our lives”
So looking at those phases what can we personally take from these on a day to day basis. OK, so we might be having a bad day, we might not like what we hear on the news or read in the paper. But we can think to ourselves “what can we do about that?”... probably nothing. Should this make us feel helpless no, no it shouldn’t because for all that we perceive as wrong there is also good. Let’s go through the two points Emmons explained:
Affirming goodness: We affirm there are good things in the world, the water that hydrates us. Next time rather than just drinking a glass of water when you are thirsty, take a second to appreciate the thirst going the freshness and taste of the water (Yes you can taste water). Take a walk in the country appreciate the scenery, the trees that give us the oxygen to allow us to breath. Light the fire in the evening and watch as the energy of the wood sparks to life and makes us warm. These are simple things we take for granted, but take the effort to appreciate them and it gives us the positive glow that is gratitude.
We acknowledge other people: Next time as you meet a friend appreciate the warm hello, their excitement to hear how your day has been or their empathy towards you in times of sadness. Has someone ever given you a gift, one not of large monetary value but means something to you, maybe an old cook book from the second hand shop they saw out of the corner of their eye and thought specifically of you. As your Dog excitedly shakes off the mud across your kitchen following its morning walk, rather than think “bloody dog making a mess” feel the love of your companion and the great times you enjoy together.
Luckily most of us are afforded similar things that I describe above and sadly we often take them for granted instead of showing gratitude. At times we will naturally feel gratitude, but we can go one better in training ourselves to be in an almost constant state of gratitude. Other caring emotions such as compassion and empathy come more naturally but gratitude can be learned.
According to the website happierhuman.com here are five of my favourite benefits of Gratitude (and there are many more):
Gratitude makes us happier.... this is both scientifically proven and more importantly Gratitude makes us feels even more Gratitude. This give us more periods of more intense happiness for longer.
Gratitude makes us healthier.... According to a 2003 study by “Counting Blessings vs Burdens” people who keep a gratitude journal have 16% fewer physical symptoms, spend 19% more time exercising, have 10% less physical pain, sleep 8% more with a 25% increase in sleep quality.
Gratitude makes people like us.... Gratitude makes us nicer, more appreciative and more trusting. The result is it deepens our existing relationships and can help us make more friends.
Gratitude strengthens our emotions.... Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes out memories better and helps us back from stress.
Gratitude makes us more optimistic.... Gratitude is strongly correlated with optimism. Optimism in turn makes us happier, improves our health and has been shown to improve lifespan by as much as a few years.
Guided mind clearance sessions clear out the underlying emotions that inhibit your ability to feel in a state of gratitude. Once the negative energy is cleared, the final part of the session includes powerful positive visualisation therapy. The techniques induce higher state of higher consciousness, leading to a state of gratitude as a natural consequence.