The power of gratitude: how to adopt it ?

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You’ve probably heard this before, but it hasn’t had much impact on your life. You still feel lost in your daily life. You are still suffering from a sense of inadequacy and may be under stress at the moment because of your money, debts, work or family. Your love life does not meet your expectations, but you have a roof, a beautiful house, a beautiful car and you will surely never starve to death like almost 25% of the world’s population.

Your family may frustrate you, but be aware that more than a third of the world’s population has only one parent and 140 million children grow up without parents. [1]

You may be overweight, but at least you have enough good food and enough capacity to lose weight.

Your parents may be unpleasant, but this may be their only way to demonstrate their concern for you.

You may be single, but at least you live in a society that accepts open communication between men and women.

You may not be the person you want to be, but at least you are aware of this and have the will and desire to do something about it.

In fact, you have been blessed, even if you seldom realize it.

[…]

The current state of the world makes most of us take things for granted. Assuming you live in the West, from a young age, you have taken education for granted. You have assumed that mom and dad have a duty to give you this toy rather than that other one. As you get older, you get angry when dinner is not ready. You slam the refrigerator door when you can’t find the food you like. Then, as an adult, you assume that you deserve happiness and that your partner, employer, neighbor or client has an obligation to do everything possible to make you happy. However, you find yourself in front of people who are anything but what your vision of the world seems to be.

The reality is that we are so busy chasing after the things we want that we forget to be happy. Because we want so much money, we forget how lucky we are to have enough to eat. By wanting that luxury lakefront home, we forget how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads. By wanting to meet our soul mate, we forget and sacrifice our current relationships without realizing it.

What many of us don’t understand is that the recognition of what we have and the appreciation of happiness are closely linked. People who are happier tend to be more grateful for what they have. [3] Similarly, the most grateful people tend to be happier.

Gratitude, in addition to increasing self-esteem and happiness, makes life more enjoyable and creates a more magnetic personality. You no longer need to run after the things you want, they will find their way to you naturally. So it’s time for you to learn how to take advantage of this force of nature.

How do we get to be grateful?

Every morning, when you wake up and brush your teeth, look in the mirror and think of three things you are thankful for. Then take a moment to pray (for religious people) or meditate on those three things for which you are thankful. Then target one person and tell them this week that you are thankful for them or something they have done. Chances are you’ll feel much more comfortable with that person.

This is one way to feel gratitude in your daily life. However, there are many other ways to express and experience it. However, it is important to be sincere and authentic when you express your gratitude to someone or something.

When you take a moment to discover what the science says about gratitude and how to adopt it, three main activities stand out. There is a good reason for this.

The first activity is the gratitude journal.

1. Keep a gratitude journal

In 2003, psychologists Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons conducted a study on the effect of gratitude in everyday life. In this study, some participants were assigned to neutral events while others were assigned to the gratitude journal. The two researchers found that participants who kept a weekly gratitude journal for ten weeks or daily for two weeks showed more gratitude, positive mood and optimism about the future. In addition, they enjoyed a better quality of sleep than other research participants. [3]

This explains the reasons for keeping a gratitude journal. It forces us to pay attention to the good things in life that we might otherwise take for granted. With the gratitude journal, we begin to pay more attention to the daily sources of pleasure around us and the emotional tone of our lives can change profoundly.

Isn’t that great?

You’re probably wondering how to go about it. Well, there’s no hard and fast way to keep a gratitude journal. You can do it any way you want. However, I do want to share a couple of tips that may be helpful.

When you decide to do it, bring a notepad and a pen with you. On a regular basis, write down up to five things you are grateful for. This can be done every day, every other day, or every week. It’s up to you to choose the pace that works for you.

Then be as accurate as possible in your writing. Suppose you are grateful to your friends who visited you while you were lying in the hospital bed last Tuesday. Rather than writing, “I’m thankful to my friends,” write, “I’m thankful that my friends visited me while I was lying in the hospital bed last Tuesday. “This last statement has much more impact than the first.

The second activity that will allow you to take advantage of this force of nature is to express your gratitude to others.

2. Expressing gratitude to others

This expression can be done through your voice or through a handwritten letter. The letter asserts positive things in your life and reminds you of how much others have taken care of you.

Soul Pancake [2], a group dedicated to discovering the “science of happiness”, has decided to prove, in its own way, that gratitude plays a role in the overall happiness of our lives. For this, they have brought together a few volunteers. They first carried out a test to get a good idea of their current level of happiness. Then they asked them to close their eyes and think of someone who was really influential in their lives, someone who had done something that really meant something to them. The volunteers then wrote on a piece of paper the reasons why these people were so important. Finally, they were asked to call this meaningful person and read what they had written about them.

Happiness increased from 2% to 4% among individuals who took the time to write something down but were unable to make the phone call. However, among those who actually made the phone call and personally expressed their gratitude, happiness increased from 4% to 19%. In any case, expressing your gratitude will make you a happier person.

The most interesting result of this experience is that the person who experienced the greatest leap in happiness was the participant considered to be the least happy. This means that if you are going through a really hard time, trying this activity will probably have a greater impact on you.

If you are the kind of person who does not like to write these kinds of things, it may help to simply think of someone who has done something good for you and acknowledge them mentally. However, expect less impact.

The third activity, completing this second one, is the grateful visit.

3. Pay a gratitude visit

In 2005, researcher Martin Seligman and his three colleagues found among five tested exercises that the gratitude visit had the greatest positive effect on participants’ happiness. However, six months after the visit, their happiness had returned to where it had been before. [4] For this reason, some researchers suggest doing this exercise about once every six weeks. What is it exactly about?

Seligman explains it this way : “I’d like you to think of someone who did something tremendously important to you and to whom you never really said thank you. Your task is to write a 300-word testimonial, make an appointment with them, without explaining why, and read your text to them. At that very moment, everyone is crying… “

A second story mentioned in the book Gratitude Works [5] about the former American surgeon, Charles Everett Koop (1916 – 2013), explains this activity as well :

“Early in his career, Dr. Koop performed vital heart surgery on a newborn baby in an emergency situation. He received a Code Blue alert, rushed to the hospital (from another hospital), climbed 9 flights of stairs and saved the child’s life within minutes of his arrival, having barely enough time to take his usual surgical precautions.

25 years later, his secretary said that someone was waiting for him in her office. It was his former patient. Now six feet tall, the young man said, “I just wanted to meet you and thank you for saving my life when I was only 55 minutes old.”

Dr. Koop did not wait 25 years feeling entitled to a thank you from this patient.

However, he was very grateful, surprised and moved to receive this thank you. It is amazing to see the impact of helping an almost lifeless baby become a man.”

One last word : even though people may criticize me, misunderstand me or send me ridiculous emails, I am grateful to Gulpes. The benefits and joys of making it work are worth far more than the occasional rotten apple that appears. Therefore, thank you to everyone who has made Gulpes so useful and rich.

Notes

  1. Number of orphans in the world according to UNICEF.
  2. Part of the Soul Pancake Gratitude Experience can be accessed by clicking HERE.
  3. Emmons, RA and McCullough, ME (2003). Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Inquiry into Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84 (2), 377-389.
  4. Seligman, ME, Steen, TA, Park, N., and Peterson, C. (2005). Advances in positive psychology: empirical validation of interventions. American psychologist, 60 (5), 410.
  5. Robert A Emmons. Gratitude works! : A 21-day program to create emotional prosperity

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