Practicing Gratitude Increases Well Being
This month’s theme is Gratitude 360. All month long we have been exploring gratitude. The Sunday talks from Rev. Janis have embraced this theme. There are two ongoing Zoom opportunities to further explore this topic. And tomorrow is a whole day devoted to giving thanks
Exploring gratitude practices on the internet, I found two articles from government agencies, the NIH and the VA, that relate how research has shown that a regular gratitude practice increases your well-being. (Links to these articles listed below.) They list several benefits that researchers have identified to be linked to gratitude including recovering more quickly from illness, enjoying more robust physical health and improvements in sleep and energy.
One article states that “Gratitude is both an attitude and a practice.” To experience these
positive health results, gratitude must be practiced regularly on a daily or weekly basis. I found it interesting that at least one study showed that journaling just once a week produced better results than daily writing. The key factor being the “will” behind the action. In other words, putting real intention into the gesture, not just doing it by habit.
Both articles included several ideas of ways to practice and suggested switching it up to keep your practice fresh. A few that were new to me were:
● Imagine your life without the good things in it, so as not to take things for granted.
● Setting checkpoints throughout the day to reflect on positive things that have happened that day.
● Create a gratitude jar to collect pieces of paper on which you write things you’re thankful for and literally “count your blessings.”
I have an empty jar on my desk and found some strips of paper already cut that I’m going to use to implement that last one right now!
Whatever way you choose to give thanks, do it regularly with a grateful heart and increase your heart health.