This simple act of practicing gratitude can radically affect my mood and mindset. First of several years now I have had a small wooden tray with a jar and a pen and a little pile of colored paper sitting on my desk. And at the end of each day, I write down something I am thankful for. Some days it is something big, like today and my new comfortable bed arriving. Other days it is simply I watched a squirrel on my balcony or the sun was shining.
Why the practice of gratitude shifts negative thinking
Our human brains have a tendency to focus on the negatives. Did you know that it takes FIVE positive comments to counteract ONE negative comment? It seems that people find it much easier to tune in to negative things than into positive ones. One of the areas I often start with when I am coaching a client is to listen to the language that they use. So many times the women I work with talk in absolutes. Everything. Nothing. Nobody. Everything went wrong today, Nobody loves me, Nothing ever goes right for me…..But often they are not aware that they are doing it. In over 25 years of supporting clients, I have never found these statements to be true. It is often how the person feels but when we take a closer look, it’s not completely true.
The practice of gratitude is an effective way to begin to shift your negative thinking and to remove those absolutes. When you feel that everything went wrong today or that the day was awful, taking a few minutes to think about something positive in the day that you are thankful for can shift your mindset into a more positive one. It also helps you sleep better and wake up the next day in a more positive mood.
The science of gratitude
And don’t just take my word for it. The world’s leading expert on gratitude is Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California who has carried out research that links the practice of gratitude to living a happier life.
The Impact of daily Gratitude practice
What we know from research is that daily gratitude can have a deep and far-reaching effect on our lives. People who practice gratitude regularly:
An attitude of gratitude
- Report higher level of happiness than those who do not.
- Have closer and more meaningful relationships
- Live more in the present moment and are more mindful
- Are kinder and more compassionate
- Are more resilient in stressful situations
- Are more focused on the positives in their lives
- Have a strong and positive mindset
- Have a more balanced perspective and dwell less on first world problems
- Are physically and mentally healthier.
Wow! All of this from writing down a few words each day!
So why not kick off this year with an Attitude of Gratitude, buy a nice notebook and pen or get creative and make a Gratitude jar and embrace one of the simplest ways to increase your happiness.
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I originally published this article in Uber Moms Blog.
Happiness Evangelist, Life Coach, Best-Selling Author and Speaker with over 30 years of experience, helping you to live a happy and fulfilling life.
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