When I was in my darkest hours, feeling hopeless and down, I searched for something to give me a toehold to climb out of what could have become a state of depression. I was lucky to have a strong sense of self-love and a desire for personal growth, which led me to search the Internet. Fortunately, I discovered the practice of gratitude.
Many studies have shown gratitude to be directly connected to happiness and wellness. Most people may not be aware of this or may be skeptical since it is not obvious how something so simple can be so useful. Therein, lies the beauty of the principle.
Finding this practice was a turning point in my personal growth and gave me the hope and energy to persist in my journey to the joyful life I now have. I still practice every week and have recommended it with good results to friends who are struggling as I did.
Why gratitude works is highlighted in numerous references on the Internet and in books. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is a leading scientific expert on gratitude and has written a very useful article.
In this post he highlights some of the benefits of gratitude.
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
For this holiday season, giving a simple but powerful gift may improve someone’s life. Even those people we consider to “have everything” will benefit. Introducing this practice would be a more meaningful gift than the latest gadget or piece of technology. Spending quality time with them discussing the concept and getting them started would be a loving endeavor.
Consider giving someone you care about a beautifully bound gratitude journal with instructions on how to use it and a summary of the benefits. Some useful tips can be found here.
Simply adding this to a personal To Do list, as just another part of a busy day will not provide the optimum benefits. It is more helpful to set aside time to deeply contemplate the list and absorb the good feelings generated.
A gratitude journal is a thoughtful and meaningful gift with low cost and high rewards. You just might change your contribution to helping someone on to his or her life journey.
I will be forever grateful to myself for taking the initiative to improve my life with amazing results. The simple gift I gave to myself turned my life around. Perhaps it will do the same for you or someone you care about.