Six Simple Steps To An Attitude Of Gratitude

Psychology Today and Harvard Health are just a few of the publications reporting on research confirming the positive impact thankfulness has on body and mind. Robert Emmons, PhD – a professor of psychology at U.C. Davis and leading expert on the science of gratitude – states that practicing gratefulness “can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep. It also reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders.”

No matter which holiday you’re celebrating this fall, the season as a whole is infused with a sense
of thankfulness. The object of your affection might be a new home or a free cup of coffee – but there’s actual scientific evidence that your feelings of appreciation have a powerful effect on your health and well-being.

Appreciation in Action

While you may agree wholeheartedly with the idea that gratitude is good for you, there may some doubts about whether it’s really possible to live in a near-constant state of appreciation. Not to worry. These steps take almost no effort, and make it easy to start – and stick with – a daily practice of gratitude.

Magnify The Minutiae

Finding a penny in the street. Seeing someone stop to pet a dog. Noticing and giving thanks for things that seem small is the simplest way to integrate gratitude into your day.

Phone It In

Program your phone (or laptop) to give you periodic reminders to give thanks, or use a favorite photo
or quote that evokes a grateful state as your wallpaper or screensaver.

Close The Complaint Department

A brief rant can be cathartic, but endless griping can be toxic. Enlist help or resources to change
what you need to, then turn your focus back toward the preponderance of great things in your world.

Play It Again

Make yourself a “Gratitude Playlist” with songs that stir a feeling of thankfulness in your heart. A few to consider: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “Thank U” by Alanis Morissette.

Appreciate Your Attitude

Can you sing? Write? Cook? Do yoga without a physical therapist in attendance? Whatever your talent, give thanks for your unique ability…and keep on doing it.

Give It Away

Donating money to a cause of your choice is a beautiful thing. But your offering doesn’t have to be limited to cash. Kind words and compliments are absolutely free…so give generously. Thank the computer tech for his infinite patience. Tell the cashier you love her green nail polish. Get creative. And watch the rewards return to you tenfold.

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