Gratitude as a Way of Life: Creating a Daily Habit of Gratitude
Nov 01, 2011 05:13PM
● By Elaine Voci, Ph.D.
Happiness and inner peace are generated from the inside-out from the choices we make, rather than from the material world. Choice is the human burden – and the human blessing. It is our only path toward genuine appreciation of self and this is absolutely essential for happiness. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love your life.
Making important life choices is more than just satisfying it can literally be enlightening as you reach an ultimate understanding of your heart, soul and self. When you consciously choose to engage in appreciation and gratitude it opens an almost mystical power to connect with your inner self and attune you to the voice of your heart.
Thanks to the past 10 years of research in what is known as positive psychology, we now understand what happiness is and what brings it about. Positive psychology tells us that the key to happiness is something we can have at any time - regardless of our circumstances. It’s gratitude.
Gratitude is the daily habit of noticing and appreciating the positive things in the world (especially in your own personal world). Shifting your mental focus from what you don’t have to what you do have can generate an ongoing influence on your moment-to-moment mood and daily emotions, and it can have a significant impact on your physical well being, too. A daily gratitude practice can lead to increased concentration, enthusiasm, optimism and overall life satisfaction – not to mention improved sleep quality and a greater sense of connection to other people.
Gratitude can be learned, it does not take a lot of time or require special equipment. Cultivating gratitude in ourselves not only helps us feel better, but it has a positive impact on those around us. Gratitude can be contagious!
Keeping a daily gratitude journal – listing three things you are grateful for each morning, and at the end of the day, listing three things that happened for which you are appreciative – is a simple and powerful practice that will keep you from being angry or depressed when life becomes difficult. Give thanks to those who have been kind, who carried you through the storms in your life, and who were there to help you start anew. For the big and the small things, be grateful.