Why Cultivate and Attitude of Gratitude?
It would be pretty easy to have our attention constantly monitoring what’s wrong with the world, because let’s face it with all the violence, poverty and pollution our world is a more than a little messed up. However Research now shows that focusing on what’s wrong can actually be detrimental for your health. Considering what you’re grateful for is an essential ingredient for happiness. Once you have created your list and you’re keeping a journal of what you’re grateful for every day notice how you’re happiness and feelings of satisfaction rocket upwards!
Keeping a gratitude list doesn’t mean that we’re deluded about stuff or sticking our head in the sand. What it does mean is despite all that chaos, we’re still putting energy into things we are authentically grateful for. Gratitude works when you’re sincerely grateful for something. Despite what’s going on in your life right now, what are you truly grateful for?
The benefits of writing your gratitude list can include:
Reduced anxiety and increased calm
Reduced depression and increased happiness and joy
Reduced fatigue and increased feeling of wellbeing and energy
I was reading a blog post by a self development blogger called Ocean Robbins and came across this intriguing research:
“In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.”
Interesting isn’t it? Perhaps this ‘attitude of gratitude’ isn’t just for the ‘hippies’ after all? Read on for more…
“In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others.”
Sounds good, right? So let’s get started.
The ‘Top 40’ List
One of the best ways to get started with this is to write a list of at least 40 things you’re grateful for in your life. Before you panic and think, ‘but I don’t have time for that!’ take a breath and start by writing down 3 things. You don’t have to do this all in one go.
So it could be you’re grateful for:
1. a certain member of your family or loved one
2. the means to have food on the table
3. the hot water for your morning shower
You get the idea.
Below I’ve included the top 40 things I’m grateful for to help inspire your own gratitude list.
Claire’s Top 40:
I am grateful for:
1. my husband Tom who loves me unconditionally and brings me so much joy
2. my mum, her hugs are the best and she is a great listener
3. my dad, he has passed on his drive and passion for living to me which helps me to succeed and fulfill my potential
4. my sister, who totally believes in me
5. my best friend Kate because she brings so much fun into my life
6. my brilliant friends, I’m very blessed to have such great friends around me
7. my family
8. my Nan, she always makes me feel so loved and special
9. my Aunty Lee, she inspires me to be strong and independent
10. my home
11. my balcony where I can watch the most amazing sunsets
12. my sight so I can enjoy the colours, shapes and beauty of the world around me
13. my hearing, I love music especially music from the 80’s! Belinda Carlise, I love you!
14. my healthy body, I can walk, run and jump and move my body freely, which others cannot do
15. my freckles, I like them and think they give me a bit of character!
16. Sunshine, I live in England so whenever I see the sun (can be rare!) I’m grateful
17. My job, I work with brilliant people and get to meet all sorts of inspiring clients and most days I get to do what I love
18. My ability to paint pictures that others enjoy
19. My ability to cook, and have others enjoy my cooking
20. That I discovered the Lightning Process and got myself well with it
21. For Phil Parker and his tenacity
22. The freedom I have in my job
23. My school teacher, Mrs Blackwell for giving me such a good education
24. Jane Austin, I’m such a fan
25. My ability to read books, I’m a book worm and it really calms me before bed
26. That I never go hungry, I always have the means to buy food
27. The area that I live, it’s lively and full of interesting people and good places to eat
28. Flowers, they really do make me smile
29. My ability to laugh easily
30. My clothes
31. My washing machine, it means I don’t have to go to the launderette
32. My dishwasher, I no longer have to wash dishes by hand
33. Central Heating, it keeps me toasty in the winter
34. The City of London, my favourite place in the world ☺
35. Children, I don’t have my own yet, but I love the joy they bring
36. The means to go on holiday and explore different countries, not everyone can afford to do this
37. My ability to inspire people to live a life that they love
38. My ability to talk in front of groups, some people find this hard
39. My ability to write
40. My journals and diary’s they keep me on track and that makes me happy and grateful!