November celebrates National Gratitude Month

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child lying in autumn leaves smiling with over text saying gratitude turns what we have into enough

National Gratitude Month was an initiative started by Stacey Grewal, who believes gratitude to be an essential ingredient of a happy and fulfilling life. When one embraces gratitude, they immediately shift their focus from the negative to the positive things in their lives.

Gratitude is the simplest way to change one’s perspective of the world. It allows us to appreciate the positive, rather than focus on the negative aspects of our lives. Learning to be grateful helps us appreciate the little things in life that we tend to take for granted, which brings about a deep feeling of satisfaction that fulfills and nourishes us.

Gratitude has been proven to generate a positive impact on psychological, physical, and personal wellbeing. Practicing gratitude or reflecting on what you’re grateful for is an effective way to deal with life’s chaotic, stressful and tense moments. Grateful people tend to sleep better, have lower stress levels, exercise more often, and eat healthier.

Always being grateful does not mean that one would deny the fact that negative things happen in life (that will be delusional); it means finding and focusing more on the good. It means finding something to be grateful for amid the preponderance of bitterness and hardship.

What does Gratitude Really Mean?

Gratitude means thanks and appreciation. Gratitude, which rhymes with “attitude,” comes from the Latin word gratus, which means “thankful, pleasing.” When you feel gratitude, you’re pleased by what someone did for you and also pleased by the results. Unlike indebtedness, you’re not anxious about having to pay it back.

Why is Gratitude so Powerful?

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

How Gratitude Can Change Your Life?

Being appreciative has powerful effects on your body. Researchers have linked gratitude to lower blood pressure, fewer aches and pains, and improved immunity. A 2015 study published in Spirituality in Clinical Practice found grateful people even have healthier hearts.

The Benefits of a Gratitude Practice

1. Improve sleep quality.
2. Improve emotional regulation.
3. Increase feelings of happiness and positive mood.
4. Foster hope for the future.
5. Reduce stress, burnout, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
6. Increase resilience.

Gratitude Journaling

Gratitude journaling is a technique that involves keeping a diary of things you’re grateful for every day. This is one of the most popular ways to practice gratitude.

Some good starting points are to recount a favorite moment from the day, describe a special person in your life, or list five things you’re grateful for that day.

It doesn’t even have to be a physical journal. It can be as simple as a note in your phone. This makes it easier to quickly record something you feel grateful for in the moment.

How does Gratitude Change the Brain?

The science of gratitude shows that when the brain feels gratitude, the parts of the brain that are activated include the ventral and dorsal medial pre-frontal cortex. These areas are involved in feelings of reward (the reward when stress is removed), morality, interpersonal bonding and positive social interactions, and the ability to understand what other people are thinking or feeling.

Gratitude also has the capacity to increase important neurochemicals. When thinking shifts from negative to positive, there is a surging of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These all contribute to the feelings of closeness, connection and happiness that come with gratitude.

What is Grateful Living?

“Grateful living is important in the world because in our constant pursuit of more and better we can easily lose sight of the riches that lay right in front of us and within us.” ~ Guri Mehta

Grateful living is a way of life which asks us to notice all that is already present and abundant – from the tiniest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings – and in so doing, to take nothing for granted. We can learn to focus our attention on, and acknowledge, that life is a gift. Even in the most challenging times, living gratefully makes us aware of, and available to, the opportunities that are always available; opportunities to learn and grow, and to extend ourselves with care and compassion to others.

Grateful Living is supported by daily practices, tools, habits of mind and behaviors that can be learned, translated and applied to many aspects of our lives. It is also nourished in community and in relationship.

Small, grateful acts every day can uplift us, make a difference for others, and help change the world.

8 Creative Ways to Express Gratitude

1. Show a little enthusiasm.
2. Vary your vocabulary.
3. Get specific.
4. Make it public.
5. Share a list of your favorite things about them.
6. Write them a handwritten letter.
7. Give them extra encouragement.
8. Get deep.

The United Nations Meditation Group requests a formal resolution to give recognition for World Gratitude Day.

November of each calendar year is proclaimed as National Gratitude Month, after submission by Stacey Grewal in August 2015.

Comment below and share Your thoughts on living in gratitude.

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