Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Recording Gratitude as a Daily Ritual to Improve Happiness

by Margot Malin, Founder of Lots To Live For, Inc.

What makes you thankful?

Focus on what you have - not what you don't - by identifying and noting at least one positive thing in your life each day.

Cultivating gratitude by recording the things we are grateful for can help enhance our health, mood and spirit.

One way to cultivate gratitude is by keeping a Gratitude Journal or using a Gratitude Note Pad. Simply record one to three things that you are grateful for every day. Avoid fixating on material items and do not dwell on things that you do not have. Spiritually refocus on what you do have.

This Gratitude Note Pad (sold by Lots To Live For, Inc.) is easily carried in a purse or portfolio, and can be taken with you to chemotherapy infusions. It is a great addition to a chemo goody bag, or chemo gift kit.

Studies have shown that the simple act of writing down the things that we are thankful for can help improve our outlook leading to a sense of calm, well-being, and increased happiness.

In 2003 Dr. Emmons and Dr. McCullough reported the results of an important study on gratitude and well-being which separated individuals randomly into four groups who were asked to carry out different tasks. The results of the study found that those participants randomly assigned to the group who were instructed to write about things they were grateful for on a daily basis became the happiest and most optimistic when compared to 3 other groups performing different tasks. Other studies have shown that additional benefits of practicing gratitude can include improved mental and physical health, enhanced relationships, higher self-esteem, and overall satisfaction with life.

Other methods of cultivating gratitude include: meditating, mindful breathing, practicing yoga mindfully, showing appreciation, writing and expressing thanks to individuals in your life, praying (if religious), or repeating an affirmation.

Recording gratitude as a daily ritual can help improve your happiness. By extension, it can also help to improve your perspective on life, and positively impact your health.

This is a shortened version of a longer post originally appearing on the Breast Cancer Yoga Blog:
Practicing Yoga Can Imporve Your Health, Mood and Spirit

Also read: Sansone RA, et al. "Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation" Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol.7, No. 11, pp. 18 -22.