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Lifestyle: Feeling grateful

09 Oct 2018

It is Friday afternoon and I have just received a text from my new cleaner who started today to say that our home is all done. This message brought tears to my eyes (honestly, it did). I haven’t had a cleaner for around a month and with working full-time amongst other things, I would do what I could as time and energy permitted. I met the owner of the cleaning business at a networking group that I am a member of. I already felt grateful for joining the group after meeting so many wonderful people who made me feel welcome from the day I walked in. This text message raised my spirits instantly and made me feel grateful and happy. I am grateful that come the weekend, I now have the time to spend with family, friends and doing the things that I enjoy.

This message made me think about how I felt and though I have felt gratitude in the past, maybe I don’t think enough about all the things in my life that I am thankful for. So, I have spent this afternoon doing some research on this subject.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness or gratefulness. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, we acknowledge the goodness in our lives. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.

Two psychologists, Dr Robert A Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr Michael E McCullough of the University of Miami have completed a lot of research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After ten weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr Martin EP Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

Other studies have shown how gratitude can improve relationships. A study of couples has found that individuals who took time to express gratitude to their partner not only felt more positive toward the other person, they also felt more comfortable expressing any concerns they had about their relationship.

Managers who remember to say “thank you” to people who work for them may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder.

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they don’t have.

Sourced from Harvard Medical School https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-canmake-you-happier

We can practice gratitude in various ways, for example:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal and add to it daily
  2. Tell someone how much you appreciate them
  3. Nurture the friendships you have
  4. Spend quality time with your children
  5. Smile more often
  6. Include an act of kindness in your life each day
  7. Cook meals with love, think of the people you feed
  8. Volunteer for organisations that help others
  9. Don’t gossip or speak badly about anyone
  10. Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content

 

Sourced from www.lifehack.org

I replied to my cleaner’s text as to how thankful I was for the work she had done for us and the difference it has already made to our lives.

Keep asking great questions …

               

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