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Gratitude: Unleashing Your Positivism


Part 4 of the 12 Steps to Transformation: A Month-to-Month Guide Bringing Joy, Peace, Love & Fulfillment: Gratitude

By Columnist Camille Lucy – Certified Holistic Health Coach & Reiki Practitioner:

Photo Credit: An Attitude of Gratitude – Radiant Life Chiropractic – 2016

Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  And I couldn’t agree more. True gratitude is an overall appreciation for what is (and isn’t). It is the fundamental practice that allows us to create space in our lives for contentment, peace, joy, love and equanimity (mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation).

What is Gratitude?

Studies show that an “attitude of gratitude” goes a long way and those that are thankful are, overall, much happier and healthier. According to an article on Forbes.com, there are 7 scientifically proven benefits of practising gratitude.

  1. Relationships. A 2014 study in Emotion concluded that appreciating new acquaintances makes them more likely to seek an ongoing or longterm relationship.
  2. Physical Health. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who practice gratitude were more likely to take care of themselves and maintain good health.
  3. Mental Wellbeing. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., leading gratitude researcher, conducted several studies and confirmed that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
  4. Compassion vs. Aggression. In a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, grateful people were kinder verses people who didn’t practice gratitude. Grateful people were less likely to react negatively against others, even when receiving negative feedback, and expressed more empathy towards others.
  5. Sleep. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being published a study in 2011 that showed that those that write in a “gratitude journal” for 15 minutes before bed slept better and longer.
  6. Self-Esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology concluded that athletes that practised gratitude had higher self-esteem which is imperative to optimal performance. Other studies showed that people who were grateful were able to celebrate in others’ accomplishments, with less social comparison and resentment.
  7. Mental Strength. Behaviour Research and Therapy published a study that found that Vietnam War Veterans that practised gratitude had lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude leads to a higher rate of resilience following the September 11 Terrorist Attacks. Recognizing the positive things in life fosters resilience, reduces stress and plays a major role in overcoming trauma.

Our Ability to Be Grateful

Melody Beattie adds, “Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”
Wayne Dyer teaches, “Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing seems to be one of the most basic principles that you can adopt to contribute to individual and world peace.”

Gratitude allows you to loosen your grip on the thoughts and circumstances in life that you cannot change. But you can choose how you respond to what occurs, what is said to you, etc. Being appreciative, noticing the positive things in life, brings us into a state of harmony that grants us the opportunity to see with “new eyes.”

We are able to look at life as happening for us rather than to us, and in that space, we can choose how we respond. We can see obstacles as a chance to learn and grow and develop new habits and patterns that serve us better. We may also learn about ways we need our own attention, love and care to heal. As the studies above mentioned, our resiliency grows alongside our ability to be grateful. Our perceptions are what dictate our emotional and physical wellbeing. Our bodies are programmed by what we put into them. Our thoughts and our stress levels are all factors into how healthy we are emotional, which translates into how healthy we are physical.

Photo Credit: Gratitude – BK – 2013

Take, for example, a situation that occurs to two people. The two people will have different views on what has transpired, and will, in turn, have different reactions or responses. When it rains, one person may feel that the rain is impeding their day, making it harder to get to work (more traffic, slower driving) and the second person may thank the rain for blessing the Earth with the nourishment it provides. A child may love rain because they can jump in puddles. Yet another person may be aggravated as it leads to frizzy hair and wet feet.

Thoughts, responses and attitudes towards the rain vary like our fingerprints. But the child jumping in the puddles is wearing a smile and giggling, where the person with wet feet and frizzy hair is sporting a big ole’ frown. It’s our choice on what meaning we attach to everything that happens in life, day to day, hour by hour.

7 Ways to Practice Gratitude

Here’s a list of 7 ways to practice gratitude, bringing more peace, joy, contentment, fulfilment and love into your life:

  1. Gratitude Journal. Jot down 3-5 things you are grateful for each day. If you’d like to try out the “sleep” experiment (remember, one study showed that it improved sleep), write in your journal before bedtime.
  2. Thank You notes. Express thanks verbally or write out some cards to people in your life to acknowledge what they mean to you, or what you’re thankful for. This is a great way to lift others up, while also reminding yourself of all the love and support you have in life.
  3. Pray or Meditate. This can include exercising, time in nature, or just sitting quietly reflecting on all the blessings in your life and giving thanks for being alive.
  4. Family Time. Sit with family or loved ones to share “good news” about your day, what’s new or what is coming up that everyone is looking forward to. Instead of asking what’s wrong, ask what’s right! This is a great way to connect with your friends and loved ones, while also gaining the benefits of a gratitude practice.
  5. Start the Day with Thanks. When you wake in the morning, say “thank you” for the chance to begin a brand new, beautiful day. If you have a significant other, children or animals, greet them with a smile, a hug and a thank you for being part of your life. Build the momentum for the day by beginning it on a positive note.
  6. End the Day with Thanks. Before going to sleep, spending a few moments before getting some shut-eye by thinking about the great things in your life, what you have to be thankful for, and what you don’t have that you can be thankful for. There are others that would give a whole lot to have “your bad day.” This will also help you sleep better, as racing thoughts about negative events can disturb sleep patterns or the ability to fall asleep.
  7. Gratitude Jar. Jot down some notes about things you’re thankful for, or happy about, and stick them in a Mason Jar. If you’re feeling creative, you can decorate it with dry flowers or ribbons or stickers. Pick some out to read each weekend, or when you’re having a difficult day, to remind you of how great life is and that all things are temporary; even bad days.

We all have the ability – and the opportunity – to cultivate gratitude and foster emotional and physical well-being. Remember that our perception is what dictates the quality of our life, so focusing on the good rather than the bad, is a sure-fire way to become healthier and happier. An “attitude of gratitude” is a really simple way to improve life and it’s available to anyone and everyone in each moment.

Next month I’ll cover “Self Love”

In this 12-part series, readers will learn the key ingredients to a delicious life! Each topic will cover why it is important and simple ways or suggestions on how to integrate these shifts into your everyday life. If these principles are followed, the results will be undeniable; a radiant and able body, mind and soul, shining from the inside out, stronger and healthier relationships and a dramatically improved quality of life.

About Our Reiki News & Review Columnist – Camille Lucy

Camille Lucy

Camille Lucy is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Reiki & Raindrop Technique Practitioner, Ordained Holistic Minister, Certified Yoga & Meditation Teacher, graphic and web designer, business consultant, and Vice President of a local non-profit that “rehabilitates people through animals.” She is also a writer, a Mother of 3 girls, an artist, a Life-and-Love Junkie, a Self-Expression and Development advocate, and – well, you get the point. She’s a lot of things, just like all of us. Camille is also author of, “The (Real) Love Experiment: Explore Love, Relationships & The Self.”  Learn more about her and her adventure(s) at www.CamilleLucy.com or on social media at @LiveFullToday.

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Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s professional opinion, based on their knowledge. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any way. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Also, always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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