A trait that will get you focused, connected and inspired!
The power of Gratitude creates benefits on many levels and has been celebrated, as well as held as the highest of virtues, throughout cultural and religious teachings since Ancient times. Gratitude is the magic that can turn your anything into an opportunity. It connects you to the very fabric of life and the core of love within you. According to neuroscientific research, by finding aspects of yourself and your life to be grateful for, you naturally enhance the perfect health of your body. This is due to the mind-body link and the flow of positive chemicals generated by the emotion of thankfulness. Dr. Robert A. Emmons, the world’s leading expert on the topic, has beautifully concluded that Gratitude “has been conceptualized as an emotion, a virtue, a moral sentiment, a motive, a coping response, a skill, and an attitude. It is all of these and more. Minimally, gratitude is an emotional response to a gift. It is the appreciation felt after one has been the beneficiary of an altruistic act” (Emmons and Crumpler, 2000). Studies have concluded that a state of Gratitude plays a key role in social bonding due to oxytocin releases. (Algoe & Way, 2014) By extending heartfelt gratitude you get to bless others and make them more aware of what makes them as well as your connection special. Furthermore, the power of gratitude extends to feeling happier, more fulfilled and connected to the whole of life.
Practicing the Power of Gratitude
The gratitude you feel in your heart is very personal as are the ways you may choose to express it. The more you practice, the more your brain gets rewired and your focus increases. It becomes an anchored state that allows you to regain your emotional control and siphon the best of each moment.
Here are some ways in which I enjoy practicing the power of gratitude:
Whatever form of spirituality you may practice, in those moments when you tune in to the Universe, you can also choose to tune in to the gratitude you feel for the experiences and people who have blessed your life. Taking time to reconnect to your inner stillness by whichever meditation method you prefer, allowing things you are grateful for to come to mind and honoring them with loving thoughts. Know that your intentions are creating a positive impact on everything you choose to honor as your gratitude is connecting you to the field of consciousness. Religious people may choose specific prayers to practice the power of gratitude. There are no rules to this other than what makes your soul happy.
Uplifting Others – Gratitude Note
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward
By thinking of key moments in your life when someone gave you a voice when you had none, gave you a break or inspired, uplifted you, identify those you can powerfully acknowledge with a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ note. This may come in the form of a written letter, a gift, a virtual post or anything that makes you light up and flow the appreciation you feel towards them. If you feel too shy to expose yourself, remember that just as those people made your life better in key moments so can your authentic appreciation uplift and honor their spirit! What are you waiting for?
If despite this, you still feel like the emotional charge is too powerful to share, then write the letter to the person on a blank page and let the tears flow, tell them everything they made you feel and everything you are grateful for then, once you are done, put it away, the right moment will come. For now, you will draw so much benefit by simply expressing what you feel.
I love giving credit, writing thank you notes and choosing to promote or support, give back in whatever way I can to those who have impacted me. It reminds me of how interconnected we all are and how we influence each other. Ultimately, I view it as a spiritual practice as well, honoring what life has gifted me with and this includes people who believed in me. Remember that though people may come in and out of your life for various reasons, the love you share will be your legacy. Imbue life with gratitude and you will create many meaningful moments.
Whether you pick one of the available Gratitude apps or a paperback journal, listing things you are thankful for will enrich you and increase your awareness of the good flowing into your life. Creating happiness is much easier when you are counting your blessings. By rewiring your brain to look for and appreciate what is working, you are giving yourself an edge in life. Listing things you are grateful for can become a well-being enhancing habit that increases its effects through practice.
Gratitude shifts the state you are in and this means it greatly helps in empowering your charisma. Whenever you go into a heated room or face someone that there is tension with, take a moment to breathe in deeply to the count of four, hold it for a count of 4 then slowly exhale through your mouth for the count of four, close your eyes and think of one or more reasons you are grateful for that person and see if you can also include a grateful awareness of the situation you are in (yes, even and especially if it is a challenging one – mine for the gold within it). If you can’t seem to find any aspects to feel thankful for about that person and the current situation, then simply bring to mind powerful reasons why you are grateful for your life until you bring the present moment into perspective. This will allow you to walk into the room with shifted energy and to have clarity as you communicate.
Simply find a rock you love and make it your favorite new gratitude totem, think of things you are grateful for as you hold your chosen rock or item. In my case, I selected a gratitude penny stone, as featured in the cover picture of this blog post. I love to hold it and think of things I am grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a rock, it could be any small item that can easily remind you of gratitude and anchor you in that state, just chose what is most comfortable to you.
That’s right. When you shift the way you view a perceived challenge or experience, you enrich your ability to respond to it in a way that is in alignment with your objectives. Experiment with looking for reasons to be grateful for the challenges you encounter. As absurd as it may seem, looking for the hidden benefits will ground you and help you process pain in healthy ways. Experts like Dr. de Martini have been creating breakthroughs in people’s lives by helping them tune into the power of gratitude.
Depression, painful experiences and tensions may deplete your energy, canceling out your will to live. Gratitude is one of the ways you can greatly empower your healing process. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are released whenever you connect to the power of gratitude, helping the body balance your physiology. In other words, being thankful not only increases your resilience to trauma (Kashdan et al., 2006) but also greatly empowers your body’s natural healing processes. Studies have shown that the emotion of thankfulness is as effective as some of the drugs being used as a treatment for traumatic states. Tuning in to Gratitude in the midst of crisis or inner conflict is a powerfully cathartic process to release toxic emotions as well as rewire the mind to healthier pathways.
It’s easy to get caught up in the magnificence of the world and forget about yourself but the power of gratitude can also be a helpful tool in rewiring your self-image. The brain’s neuroplasticity allows you to counteract negative impressions you may have stored in your subconscious mind by creating new neural pathways. Practiced daily, gratitude for your positive aspects will help you shift your self-image to a more empowering one, helping you tap into the resources you have not been aware of due to negative self-talk.
Pay it Forward
The Power of Gratitude creates a shift in focus, creativity as well as aliveness. With this newfound energy, you will feel inspired to do and be more. The best part is you can share this energy by acting on whatever you feel inspired to pay life forward. By engaging your creativity and what makes you happy you will find ways to give back and leave your mark upon the lives you touch.
What are some of the most moving ways someone has expressed gratitude towards you? Which are the moments and people in your life you are most thankful for? Share your experiences in the comments!
Readings related to the topic:
- The Psychology of Gratitude by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough
- The orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Vol. III
- The Breakthrough Experience by John F DeMartini
- Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life by M. J. Ryan
- Witnessing excellence in action: The‘‘other-praising’’ emotions of elevation, gratitude, and admiration. by Algoe & Haidt
- Neuroplasticity (MIT Press Essential Knowledge series) by Moheb Costandi
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post should not be a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the expertise of professionals of the medical and psychological community when dealing with health-related issues.