How A Simple Practice Can Lead To Big Changes

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gratitude blog
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by Theresa Conti

“Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people’s lives.” 

 – Bob Emmons, Ph.D.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to an interview with Bob Emmons, a leading authority on gratitude and author of Gratitude Works.  Dr. Emmons spoke about the benefits of having a gratitude practice.

While gratitude has often been thought of as a touchy-feely spiritual practice, with perhaps little to no practical implications, gratitude, in fact, has been scientifically proven to have multiple, physical, psychological and social benefits. Here are just a few:

Research has shown that adults who practice gratitude on a regular basis experience the following benefits:

Physical:

  • Exercise more regularly and take better care of their health
  • Report fewer illness symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the future
  • Have stronger immune systems
  • Are less bothered by aches and pains
  • Have lower blood pressure
  • Respond more effectively to daily stressors, and may show increased resilience when confronted with trauma induced stress
  • Sleep an average of 30-minutes longer each night and wake feeling more alive and vital

Psychological:

  • Have higher levels of positive emotions, such as joy, enthusiasm and love
  • Are protected from envy, greed, resentment and bitterness
  • Are more alert, alive and awake
  • Feel more optimistic and happier
  • Have fewer toxic negative emotions
  • Can experience a decrease in the duration and frequency of depression
  • Have a higher sense of self-worth

Social:

  • Are more helpful, generous and compassionate
  • Feel more loving, forgiving, joyful, and enthusiastic
  • Are more outgoing
  • Feel less lonely and isolated 
  • Have improved relationships
  • Have increased feelings of connectedness, and even altruism.
  • Show increased social support

THIS WEEK’S TIP ‘N TOOL:

PRACTICE:

GROWING HAPPINESS THROUGH GRATITUDE

People who kept a gratitude journal once a week for 10 weeks reported a 25% increase in happiness. So…. This week, you can begin your gratitude practice by starting a gratitude journal.

For instance, you might like to purchase a journal or notebook that appeals to you, and that brings a sense of pleasure to look at and write in.

***Then, once a week for the next 10 weeks write five things you’re grateful for. ***

As an extra boost, at the beginning or end of every of day, spend a little quiet time reflecting on the “good facts” in your life. For instance, the comfortable bed you’re lying on, the sun shining through your window, the warmth (or coolness) of the air on your skin, the taste of coffee, tea, etc. Then, let the good feelings that arise from the practice soak down into your body, like a warm ray of sunshine filling you.

The practice of “taking in the good” is an important step and will help to tilt your brain in the direction of happiness and well-being. If you’re an expat and are having challenges adjusting to your new location, look for “good facts” in new environment. Perhaps a friendly exchange with a neighbor or waiter, a good meal at a local restaurant, beautiful scenery, or a walk along the sea.

The practice of “taking in the good” is an important step and will help to tilt your brain in the direction of happiness and well-being. Conduct your own experiment and see how the practice works for you.

***Writing five things you’re grateful for once a week is the same practice used by participants in the study Dr. Emmons conducted.  If you choose to write more frequently, as I have, I suggest doing so on a consistent basis through the 10-week period.

I’d love to hear your results, should you choose to use the practice.

With love, Theresa

© Theresa Conti 2020

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Theresa Conti
Theresa Conti was born and raised in New York. She is a Certified Life Coach, Energy Healing Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator and Author with more than 25 years’ experience. Her books include Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself, and I Am the Treasure. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, and develop inner resources, like confidence, courage and resilience, so they can live with greater ease, realize their goals and dreams and better meet life's challenges. She is also a qualified English teacher and editor and often brings her coaching skills into her teaching to facilitate her clients’ learning. She offers a complimentary consultation to get acquainted, discuss your goals and see how you might work together. She can be reached at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com.

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