I’ve been reading about the book, Gratitude Works! by Robert A. Emmons, and there are many applications all around us. Many people are using social media to chronicle their gratitude. I think it is somewhat public for private feelings but it’s a matter of opinion.
Emmons message is clear why gratitude is important. He says saying thanks can change your life. Especially during the holidays and as we start thinking about New Year’s resolutions; I thought I’d pass along a few reasons to practice gratitude.
1. Emmons suggests keeping a gratitude journal. I like his idea of writing gratitude letters to kind people. Taking notes of everyday thoughtfulness can boost relationships. Writing things down helps make it stick.
2. Couples can use a gratitude journal. Chronicling the things their partner did that they appreciated. Social scientist Nathaniel Lambert suggests that we have a scarcity mentality. When we write a gratitude journal or express gratitude; we transform our perception of reality from one of scarcity to one of abundance. I think this also can work in the workplace with fellow employees or the job itself too. We rarely think about what someone at work does that we appreciate.
3. Gratitude, optimism and forgiveness are all use tools for building resilience. This is the ability to bounce back. I think of how people have lost their jobs or have an illness and can take it in stride. These setbacks don’t define them. People who are more resilient take the worst that life has to throw at them without allowing themselves to be defined by a setback.
4. It’s a depression fighter. Writing down three things that you are grateful for is as effective at increasing a sense of well-being as spending an hour in therapy.
5. It helps you achieve your goals. Studies have found people who kept a gratitude list over two months were more likely to report completion of key goals. Grateful people seem to have higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and street.
There are so many encounters we have with people during the day that are opportunities to show gratitude, so make one of your resolutions to be grateful and start your gratitude journal.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday and welcoming 2014.