November 19, 2018
Below is a lesson from Happify on the science behind gratitude and how it can change your life, as well as our key learning.
The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth. We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”. We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning. As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.
The Science Behind Gratitude (and How It Can Change Your Life)
by Derrick Carpenter, MAPP
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. And gratitude doesn’t need to be reserved only for momentous occasions: Sure, you might express gratitude after receiving a promotion at work, but you can also be thankful for something as simple as a delicious piece of pie. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
You’d think that just one of these findings is compelling enough to motivate an ingrate into action. But if you’re anything like me, this motivation lasts about three days until writing in my gratitude journal every evening loses out to watching stand-up comics on Netflix.
Here are a few keys I’ve discovered—and research supports—that help not only to start a gratitude practice, but to maintain it for the long haul.
Continue reading here.
- People who regularly practice gratitude experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, have stronger immune systems.
- Simply keeping a gratitude journal – regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful – can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
- Keys to start and maintain gratitude practices:
- Freshen up your thanks – notice new things you’re grateful for every day. Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way we perceive situations by adjusting what we focus on.
- Get real about your gratitude practice – use the technique of mental contrasting (being optimistic about the benefits of a new habit, but also realistic about how difficult building the habit may be) leads us to exert more effort. Recognize and plan for obstacles that may get in the way.
- Make thankfulness fun by mixing it up – don’t limit yourself to just journaling. If journaling feels stale, find new and creative ways to track your grateful moments.
- Be social about your gratitude practice – focusing our gratitude on people for whom we’re thankful rather than circumstances or material items will enhance the benefits we experience.
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