The Miracles of Gratitude

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The Miracles of Gratitude
Gratitude could change your life for the better and permanently if you understood how powerful it is for human health and wellbeing. Given the level of unhappiness in the world, I believe that it is a safe assessment that some gratitude is missing because one of the benefits of gratitude is happiness. If you want to increase your happiness levels then this is one excellent way to accomplish that. If happiness is what you need you can find more about happiness in a previous post on how you can learn how to generate your own happiness. Gratitude has been written about since the beginning of mankind and is the inspiration or content of songs, books, quotations and much more. Yet, the research in the area of gratitude is fairly young in comparison.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The academic definition of gratitude includes a two-step process which includes recognizing you have received a good result or outcome coupled with recognizing that there is an outside or external source for this positive outcome or good result. Two different ways of stating the same thing. We all mostly recognize gratitude when we hear it or see it.

Impact of personal growth and development like having high emotional intelligence

            “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” Epictetus (Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher born a slave in Hierapolis, Phrygia in 50 AD.)

Now for my normal waiver and warning: If you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Speak up. Tell someone. Your life has meaning and a purpose even if you have not found it yet. People care about you even if you think that they don’t. I am not a medical professional in any way. You should get your medical advice from a licensed medical professional. If you have persistent thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek medical help immediately.

I am a huge fan of gratitude. It is a way of life for me. Because I have lived this way for so long I actually had to do some research on the benefits of gratitude to see what the science shows. It was amazing! This is the compiled list, which only includes the known and agreed upon benefits – not the ones still being researched and proven.

Benefits of Gratitude

  1. Increases happiness
  2. Reduces pain
  3. Releases toxic emotions
  4. Improves sleep quality
  5. Reduces cardiac diseases
  6. Reduces inflammations
  7. Reduces neurodegeneration significantly
  8. Increases energy
  9. Increases vitality
  10. Increases enthusiasm
  11. Helps in stress regulation
  12. Reduces anxiety
  13. Reduces depression
  14. Helps build emotional resilience
  15. Helps you focus on the good things in life
  16. Helps you stay in reality, the present, even when things are bad
  17. Promotes solution-oriented thinking
  18. Improves relationships
  19. Provides increased motivation via serotonin, dopamine & oxytocin transmitters that make you feel good
  20. Increases self-esteem
  21. Helps people meet their basic psychological needs

Let that sink in. Isn’t that amazing? Awesome? Simply overwhelming? The science is in and gratitude is miraculous in terms of benefits for human health and wellbeing. What this means is that gratitude is one powerful thing to focus on if you want to be happier and healthier. It means that gratitude is absolutely the muscle to build unless you just want to whine and complain about your life. Unless you just want to be the victim to your circumstances, your life, your past or whatever. You get to choose.

Then why are we not more grateful? Here’s a first pass at some of the reasons why we struggle at being grateful.

Reasons Why People Struggle with Being Grateful

  1. They are having serious issues and are in pain and suffering.
  2. They are spoiled or have an entitlement mentality.
  3. They have unrealistic expectations.
  4. They have low self-esteem.
  5. They are prone to negative thinking or are a pessimist.
  6. They feel sorry for themselves or have the victim mentality.
  7. They have addictions like drugs or alcohol that are problematic.
  8. They are narcissists or have some other psychopathology.
  9. They are bitter or envious of others.
  10. They are simply self-centered.
  11. They have the temperament that they are never satisfied.
  12. They might have boundary issues.
  13. They simply don’t know enough about poverty and other serious issues facing people in the world.
  14. They don’t know people who are worse off than they are.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Cicero (Cicero was a Roman statesman, lawyer and Academic Skeptic philosopher from Italy born in 106 BC.)

I understand all too well that some of you have great difficulty with being grateful or having gratitude in your life. To help you with that I am going to give you a helpful hot list of things that most of you can be grateful for in your life. Notice that I said that most of you can be grateful for…

Things You Can be Grateful for:

  1. Having sufficient food
  2. Having clean water
  3. Have safe shelter or a place to live
  4. Family/spouse/relationships
  5. Friends (Read this if you need to make new friends or more friends)
  6. Neighbors
  7. Employment or income
  8. Nature
  9. Good weather
  10. Pets
  11. Children/Nieces or Nephews
  12. Beauty…in art, people, nature and so many things
  13. That you are alive today
  14. For your health
  15. For financial security
  16. For your hobbies (read this if you need to hobby up)
  17. That your mind/brain is working
  18. That you can read this
  19. That you can create your life as you want it to be (read this for how to start that)
  20. That you are not in jail
  21. For laughter
  22. That you can change
  23. That you are a good person (read this if you have doubts about that)
  24. That you have time (read this for ideas on time management)
  25. For your skills and abilities
  26. For God and your faith
  27. That you have the gift of speech, vision or hearing

As someone who is more often than not in a state of gratitude, I express my appreciation for people in my life on a daily basis. I say thank you everywhere I can to everyone I can. I write handwritten thank you notes as often as needed. You would be surprised the impact that a handwritten thank you note has on the receiver. One time I was in line at the car dealership and a man said hello to me as if he knew me. Shortly thereafter when he realized that I didn’t recognize him, he explained who he was and that he had my written thank you note taped to his locker. That thank you note had been written a few years before our chance encounter. What I learned then was that it can be deeply meaningful for a person in a paid position to receive a thank you note for simply doing their job.

I not only write thank you notes, I take little treats to people who matter to me and help me along the way. For me gratitude is a natural expression of loving my life and the people in it. There are so many things we can each be grateful for. Practice that muscle and it will grow and grow until it is the most natural expression of you and your love of the little things in life.

How to Increase Your Gratitude Muscle:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal or list. Do that until the practice of gratitude is so natural that you don’t have to think about it – it just comes automatically.
  2. Personal growth and development. Do the work. See this post on the benefits of personal growth and development or this post on emotional intelligence.
  3. Stop the negative thinking and pessimism.
  4. Have a road map for your life or a plan or vision and execute your plan!
  5. Find those less fortunate and help them! Volunteer and get involved in your community. There are lots of people who could use your help!
  6. Be present. Be here now. Live in the moment.
  7. Write thank you notes to people who you are grateful to and snail mail your note! Do this as often as you can!

 “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” Aesop

 Call to Action:
Being grateful is free because it is a state of mind hopefully coupled with words expressed to another person. Are you willing to allow yourself to have the miracles of gratitude in your life with all of the benefits of health and wellness? How can I help you grow your gratitude muscles? Who do you know who could benefit from reading this post? Please leave me a comment if you have a question that I can help you with. Please share this post with your friends or family or on social media. I am here to lovingly support you in your journey through life. How can I help you?
Love,
Lisa
Lisa A. Lundy, B.S., DTM
Blog Name: Love.Life.™
Blogsite: www.LisaALundy.com
Author of The Love.Life. ™ Book (Due out November 2020)
Author of The Super Allergy Cookbook – Allergy & Celiac Cookbook (September 2007)
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaalundy/

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Photo of author, Lisa Lundy

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