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Gratitude!

23 Jul 2015

I was flying back from Nelson this morning and I couldn’t help counting my blessings! For those of you who have taken this scenic 35 minute trip to Christchurch I am sure you will agree that it is well worth the $69 on grabaseat! You are low enough on the small plane to see everything – the sea, the snow-capped Alps, green horticultural plains and some of the more isolated communities based in the middle of nowhere (how do they get there and do they have their own language I wonder?). So I got to thinking about life, the universe, and everything finding that when I took “stock” of things I am very lucky!

I have a wonderful family, supportive friends, a great job …. The list kept coming and I realised I was not only lucky but I was very grateful!

Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components. “First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”

In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mind-set—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

The sociologist Georg Simmel called it “the moral memory of mankind.”

Grateful people are naturally happier, more resilient, have strong relationships, are helpful, compassionate and are able to forgive more easily. Physically they are in better health and sleep better, suffer less cardiovascular problems, and are fitter as they tend to exercise more.

So are you someone who recognises the good in your life or are you a natural pessimist? Fear not! The benefits of gratitude aren’t only available to people with a naturally grateful disposition. Instead, feeling grateful is a skill we can develop with practice, reaping its rewards along the way.

There have been studies (of course!) and some of the things are:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Savour the good in your life – don’t let it just brush past you.
  • Recognise the positive
  • Focus on the good intentions that come your way
  • Spend time with spiritual practices – be it prayer or meditation as this can also be of benefit here.

The link below has several videos and is quite an interesting read.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition

So arriving back in Christchurch, lolly in mouth, I grabbed my bags feeling overwhelmed with good will, content in the knowledge that my lovely Partner would be there to greet me…… and I ended up having to wait for 30 minutes (sigh). Ah well, at least he bought me a coffee!

Tags: Emotion, Energy, gratitude, Mood, Positive Emotions

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