Gratitude: Therapy for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Once a year in North America there is a holiday for Thanksgiving where people are encouraged to take at least a few moments to be thankful for what they have, but what happens when we make this gratitude practice a regular part of our life? It is easy enough to tell that it usually feels good when someone else expresses their gratitude for something we have done, but research also shows that taking some time to be grateful can have great health benefits too, in just about every way!

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Here is a list of some of the effects 5 or more minutes of gratitude a day can bring:

Emotional: Reduced stress, envy, and frustration. Increased relaxation, happiness, optimism, self-esteem, inspiration, and forgiveness

Physical: Improved sleep quality, motivation to exercise, and energy. Reduced physical symptoms of pain, depression, stress, and sickness

Social: More friendships, deepens relationships

Financial/career: Improved management skills, networking, and productivity

Spiritual: Greater feeling of connectedness

How does this happen?

Gratitude starts as a positive emotional response that is linked with feelings of thankfulness and appreciation, which can be created through a conscious awareness of benefits provided by another. This then starts a process that continues to build on itself through these four areas of well-being. One good thing appears to lead to another… and another.

Nowadays so many people are burdened with a great deal of responsibilities and demands, and mentally this can become very consuming. As a result it becomes easy to miss a lot of the things that others do for us. What is great is that the more we are aware of what others do for us and what we have to be thankful for, the more we can cultivate gratitude and experience the benefits.How life is experienced is based around how it is perceived, and through bringing more attention to things that there are to be grateful for, it can create some shockingly transformational change! Our world can suddenly become a brighter and warmer place.

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Cultivating gratitude with a journal

There are many ways to bring more gratitude into your life. One way that has received a lot of attention in research is through the use of a gratitude journal. Starting a journal in which you log 3 things per day that you are grateful for, along with a short description of why you are grateful for it; can be a great way to add a little extra time for gratitude in your life.  Write the things that have meaning for you and give you that warm and positive feeling that comes with thankfulness. If it makes you feel like smiling you know are on the right path, and if not, fake it until you make it!

It might help to make a short note of the things you are grateful for as you experience them so they don’t get lost in the daily grind. 5 minutes a day is all it should take. Research has shown that if continued over a period of a few months, a journal like this can lead to more long-term happiness than winning the lottery!

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2 responses to “Gratitude: Therapy for the Mind, Body, and Soul”

  1. http://yahoo.com says :

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