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Getting the Gratitude Attitude and Doing Something with It - Part II

Getting the Gratitude Attitude and Doing Something with It  - Part II

 

 “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it,” said William Arthur Ward.

Last week, “Seize the Day” introduced gratitude as both an attitude and a practice.  It cited some benefits that are associated with experiences of gratitude, appreciation, and thankfulness:

  • positive feelings that contribute to one’s overall sense of well-being
  • buffering us against negative living and negative emotions
  • making us more resistant to stress

This week’s column will focus on ways to practice or express gratitude.  Two ways of expressing gratitude are through writing and through face-to-face conversations. 

Writing could mean establishing a habit of journaling about gratitude.  Journaling can be done

  • in book or notebook,
  • on slips of paper that you put into a jar, box, or basket,
  • in a word document,
  • online through social media, or
  • electronically with an app.

The journaling habit is associated with some pretty amazing benefits:

  • higher positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy
  • better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness

Research has shown that writing our thoughts of gratitude offers more advantages than just thinking them. 

Journaling at the end of a day, 1-3 times per week, has been found to offer the optimal benefits.

To journal, simply write five things you are grateful for.  For starters:  people, strengths or talents you have, something in nature, a food or meal, a gesture of kindness from someone, or something at your home or farm.  Key in on things that you might ordinarily take for granted.  Give yourself a little time to think about why you appreciate those things and why they are of value to you. 

Every so often, whether it be once a month or once a year, treat yourself to a review of what you’ve written.

Some ways to express gratitude “face-to-face” include:

  • At a meal, have each person tell about something from the day that they are grateful for
  • In a group, have each person tell something they appreciate about the person sitting next to them
  • Go for a walk with a friend and talk about what you are most grateful for
  • Tell a co-worker thank you for what they do and what you admire or appreciate about them
  • Express appreciation to a store clerk, carry-out, or wait staff who served you well.

Adapted from: Whole Health – Change the Conversation, “Creating a Gratitude Practice,” Shilagh A. Mirgain, PhD, and Janice Singles, PsyD, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/diary-journal-book-ink-pen-paper-92652/ (downloaded 11/27/18)


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