Thank you. I feel better already.

It’s Officially Gratitude Month.

You may have noticed some of your friends sharing things they’re thankful for on Facebook.. Well, I’m a week late. But better late than never, and I want to make sure you don’t miss out on the serious benefits this simple practice can produce.

Yes, it’s a truly great gesture to share things you’re grateful for, and maybe even get others to pause and think for a second about the things they’re thankful for as well.. But practicing gratitude goes way beyond that. There’s a lot more to this gratitude thing than you might think.

Increasing numbers of studies are dedicated to the tangible benefits that having a grateful mindset gives us. Among the things practicing gratitude gives us:

  • Stronger immune systems
  • Reduced symptoms of illness and being Less bothered by aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Tendency to exercise more and take better care of our health
  • Longer Sleep and feeling more refreshed upon waking
  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More focus and productivity
  • Being more alert, alive, and awake
  • More joy, pleasure, optimism and happiness
  • We become more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving
  • More outgoing
  • We feel less lonely and isolated

I mean, really – they could stop at “You will be more happy.” and wouldn’t that be enough?

I Love this talk on TED, and highly recommend you take a few minutes to watch.

One of my favorite take-aways from this is the fact that 90% of our happiness is not predicted by our outside world, but rather, the way in which our brain processes that external world.

More evidence of just how powerful the mind is. And when the mind is constantly scanning for, and as a result actually seeing, the good rather than the bad, its going to find it. And you, my friend, aren’t going to be able to help yourself. You’re going to be happier.

Literally.

Chemically.

There isn’t a choice.

Added bonus: Dopamine, which floods into your system when you’re positive, has two functions, it not only makes you happier, but it also turns on all the learning centers in your brain. You’re going to be more alert, more productive, have greater focus, be better at your job. so on and so on, you get the point. More good stuff.

So, in case you haven’t yet dedicated the time to watching the talk above, and you’re wondering ‘How do I get in on this plan?” Here’s what the psychologists have determined:

“With just 2 minutes a day, for 21 days- you can rewire your brain to work more optimistically and more successfully. At the end of the 21 days – your mind will retain the pattern, and automatically scan for the good.” This is tried and tested.

A great place to start:

Write down three things you’re grateful for. Each day.

There are so many options here. Use a journal, keep it in an app on your phone, a Word doc on your computer, scraps of paper around your house or, take a picture, tag it #grateful and either share it, or keep it to yourself. Whatever you’ve got to do, just make it happen and be religious about it. For 21 days. After that, I’m pretty sure you’re going to continue on your own will – so I’m just asking the 21 days.

I’ve given this a try. And when I did, one friend was doing it with me, but no one else really knew. What was pretty amazing was that this other friend of mine kept asking me what was going on, and why did I suddenly seem so much happier. He didn’t just ask this once.. it was on several occasions. Honestly I had no idea what it was, I did agree that I was just feeling better, but truthfully had no idea why. It took me a bit to put 2 and 2 together.

So… I’m going to be honest and tell you that I fell out of the habit. But, I’m getting back to it. And I’d love for you to join me because I kinda like you, and I want you to be happy too. Not to mention, we’ll all get smarter together, keep it an even playing field

Added just for fun!: If you’ve read my #finishline post you know what’s coming..
Walking around, minding your business and have a ‘grateful’ moment? Take a picture. Tag it #grateful. If you want to share with us – post it to my Facebook Page or, create your own Pinterest board, make it public, keep it private – but either way, how great to go back and look at a whole collections of things that you are thankful for.

Just a note for when you’re debating whether to share or keep to yourself: Another study showed an additional significant increase in people’s happiness when they shared what they were grateful for.

No pressure. Just sayin’.

#grateful

#grateful

 

Sources:
Greatergood.berkeley.edu
The Science of Happiness: An Experiment in Gratitude

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