Attitude of Gratitude

By: Hannah Sanderman

Gratitude is a rare emotion these days in a generation where people constantly want more, never settling for what you already have.

With more and more research being done on the subject, researchers have discovered gratitude is an emotional muscle. Strengthening this muscle can lead to feeling more content, joyful and energetic everyday.

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, has found grateful people see gratitude as a permanent characteristic and not a passing attitude. Emmons research reveals gratitude can aid you in many areas of your life — the first one being your health.

Exercising gratitude each day can be tied with lower blood pressure and stress levels, as well as improved kidney function and a stronger heart. Being thankful can also significantly help when coping with daily problems, the main one being stress.

Keeping a gratitude journal in which you write down at least one thing you were thankful for that day improves both happiness and energy according to Emmons’ research. His research states that for people who wrote down at least one thing they were grateful for every day, they were 25 percent happier for up to six months after keeping a gratitude journal for only three weeks.

Another study by Emmons showed that people who regularly wrote things they were thankful for in their gratitude journal felt more energetic. People who only kept a diary of everyday events did not reap the same benefits.

By practicing gratitude through journaling and always looking for the positive, even in the worst situation, you begin to become more resilient. From everyday trials to major losses, being grateful helps you to bounce back more quickly.

The key to being grateful is to start some sort of gratitude routine, whether it be starting a gratitude journaling and taking time each day to write what you are thankful for or being consciously observant of all the positive things you are surrounded by, no matter how small.

However, do not feel guilty if you slip up. If forget to write in your gratitude journal for a couple days, that is A-OK. Do not feel like you have to write something down every day. Just once or twice a week is great.

If you have a horrible day and cannot find anything to be thankful for or simply forget to look, that is OK too. Everyone has bad days, but the trick is to not let that single bad day affect the rest of your week or even month.

Acknowledge you had a bad day and leave it in the past. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people or do something that makes you happy.

These are ways you can forget about your bad day but also enhance your gratitude.

Possessing the quality of being thankful is one of the best traits you can have. It does require a change in your mind set, but with some work, it can make all the difference.

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