Why Is Gratitude Great? – Episode 067

LFL 67 | Developing Gratitude

 

You have to practice gratitude every day. If you’re struggling with something at work or at home, you need to find a way to embrace it. Learn how to develop gratitude for everything that comes your way. Gratitude can affect our lifestyle and well-being, so it is a good practice to start learning gratitude today. Join your host, Patrick Veroneau as he explains the multiple ways how you can practice it every day.

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Why Is Gratitude Great?

Being Grateful Has Benefits In Many Aspects Of Our Life. This References Shawn Achor’s 21 Day Happiness Challenge

In this episode, we are going to talk about gratitude and some of the research behind the power of gratitude. While in the US, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving, gratitude is something that should be demonstrated and exercised on a daily basis regardless of where in the world you live. There are many benefits to gratitude as it relates to navigating challenges that we might be experiencing in our lives but certainly, of taking the time to appreciate where we are and how much we can be grateful for. It’s easy in the world that we live in to think about all the things that are going wrong. We don’t take enough time oftentimes to reflect on how many things we can be grateful for. That’s what I want to talk about.

There’s so much research around the power that gratitude has. I’m going to talk about one particular study that I had pulled up that I’m using in a journal that I’m creating called the POWER Journal, which is around five behaviors for creating happiness and wellbeing. In there, one of the letters is around gratitude. This article that I’m going to speak to was co-written by Randy and Lori Sansone. It was in Psychiatry 2010, Volume 11. It was pages 18 to 22. It starts to talk about from an abstract standpoint what is the definition of gratitude. As defined in this article, gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself and represents a general state of thankfulness or appreciation. There are many words in there. The keys to think about are meaningful and what it represents, thankfulness and appreciation of where we are.

One of the first studies that it talked about was looking at the empirical evidence of gratitude and wellbeing connection. They cited two researchers, Emmons and McCullough, who examined gratitude and wellbeing under three different experimental conditions. Participants in this study were divided into three groups. One was asked to journal about negative events or hassles. The second group about the things for which they were grateful. The third group about neutral events. You had one talking about what they weren’t happy with. The second group journaling about the things that they were grateful for. The last group was neutral. What they found at the end of this was across the various study conditions, the gratitude subsample consistently evidenced higher wellbeing in comparison with the other two study groups. There are several other studies that go on looking at all different age groups.

Find time to reflect on the countless things that you're grateful for. Click To Tweet

The second article was involving 221 adolescents. In this study, they were assigned either to a gratitude exercise, which meant that they’re counting one’s blessings, or they were part of a hassles condition. The authors of the study concluded that from their experience, counting blessings seems to be an effective intervention for enhancing wellbeing in adolescents. Not just adults but here we are as adolescents. I’ll give you one more. There was a sample that was done with 389 adults. This was done by researchers whose last name is Wood. What they did was they examined gratitude and wellbeing in the context of personality style. In this study, gratitude was most strongly correlated with personality attributes related to wellbeing. The researchers concluded that gratitude has a unique relationship with life satisfaction.

What we find with that in terms of where gratitude is beneficial is when we look at wellbeing. What was found in those studies when they looked in terms of gratitude? They found that, generally, those in the groups that were grateful tended to have better coping styles. Also, in this study with 389 adults, it was determined that higher levels of gratitude predicted better subjective sleep quality and sleep duration. In the same article, they listed a table and they called it psychological strategies that may enhance feelings of gratitude. They talked about different things that individuals could do or did do as it related to gratitude. One was journaling about things for which to be grateful. One was thinking about someone for whom you are grateful. Another was writing or sending a letter to someone for whom you were grateful. Another one could have been meditating on gratitude, and they listed this as present moment awareness. Another one was undertaking the count your blessings exercise. At the end of the week, writing down three things for which you were grateful.

We know in the 21-day challenge that was mentioned with Shawn Achor, participants were asked to do this every single morning, write down three different things that they were grateful for. Next was a suggestion of practicing saying thank you in a sincere and meaningful way. Another was writing thank you notes. Another was if people were religious to pray about gratitude. There were so many different ways that we can practice our gratitude. In the journal that I’ve developed, I talk about a number of different things. From a standpoint of gratitude exercises that we can do. One is to identify three things that you feel grateful for and appreciate in your life. What’s important here is they don’t all have to be positive or large things. You might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t they be positive if I’m going to be grateful for them?” What I mean by that is that you can have things that you’re being challenged with in your life.

LFL 67 | Developing Gratitude

Developing Gratitude: Find ways to be grateful in a struggle. Learn how to stick with that struggle and embrace it. Embrace the challenges.

 

I would challenge you to look at those challenges and find ways to be grateful for them. When we can find ways to be grateful, maybe for a struggle in a relationship or a business setting, we know that if we stick with it and if we’re grateful for that challenge, we embrace it. When we embrace the challenge, it allows us to open up in terms of opportunities and possibilities for how we’re going to overcome that. The next thing that you can do regarding gratitude is to ask yourself, what things do you take for granted but you’re grateful for? This could be your health, your intelligence or your family. Maybe it’s a roof over your head.

Next, you can identify three things that you appreciate about yourself. How often do we take the time to do this? Look at the negative things about us but maybe say, “I’m a good listener. I’m compassionate around other people.” Whatever that might be but identify three things in that space. The next might be around asking yourself, “What am I grateful for right now?” Immediately. This could be as simple as, “I’m grateful for the sunshine right now. I’m grateful for the smell of the ocean if I’m on my boat. I’m grateful for the cup of coffee I’m drinking right now.” Whatever that might be, but at the moment, “What am I grateful for?”

Next might be to identify three people who had significant and positive experiences in your life. Maybe it’s a parent, teacher or mentor. Maybe you either are grateful yourself but you take it a step further and you send them an email or write them a note, a card or send them a letter. Let them know that. We know the power that gratitude can have in our lives because it forces us to think about the positive things and not the negative things. We’re wired in a way to gravitate toward the negative first. Only when we consciously take the initiative to be grateful or to practice gratitude are we going to be able to overcome that.

Gratitude has a unique relationship with life satisfaction. Click To Tweet

When we do that, it allows us to show up much differently when we’re able to look at things that we’re grateful for, especially our challenges. If you’re celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving, I certainly hope that you find an opportunity to think of several things that you’re grateful for. More importantly, after the official holiday of Thanksgiving is over and for the remainder of those reading to this outside of the US, we all have the need and the ability to be grateful on a daily basis. When we do that, it will enhance many other areas of our lives. My challenge for you is, what are you grateful for?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief episode around gratitude. It’s a short episode but certainly very valuable. What I would hope are some practical ways that you can exercise gratitude in your own life. If you know somebody who would benefit from this, please forward it on. If you haven’t already subscribed, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me. I would be grateful as well if you would go on and leave a comment and a rating because that’s what helps to expand this message and increase its reach. Until our next episode, I hope we’re able to do two things. One is to lead like no other, and the other is to rise above your best.

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