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THE POWER OF GRATITUDE

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In a world full of challenges and uncertainty, a powerful tool can transform lives – gratitude.

 

Emily, who lived in a small town surrounded by rolling hills, was always a thoughtful and caring person who dedicatedly looked after her parents, aged 88 and 90. However, lately, she felt low as the world’s weight seemed to be resting on her shoulders. She longed for a way to lift her spirits, and one day, while browsing through a quaint bookstore in town, she came across a book titled “The Power of Gratitude.” Intrigued, she picked it up and started reading. The pages were filled with stories and research about the benefits of practicing gratitude, and Emily found herself captivated by the words.

As she delved deeper into the book, she discovered six incredible advantages of embracing a positive attitude of gratitude.

The first advantage was improved mental health.

The book explained that expressing gratitude had been scientifically proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. By focusing on the positive aspects of life and expressing gratitude for them, one’s mindset could shift towards a more optimistic and content perspective. Emily felt a glimmer of hope ignite as she realized that practicing gratitude could increase happiness and overall well-being.

 

Emily began to develop a journaling habit, giving her time to express positive feelings. It doesn’t need to be a long journal entry.  As mental reminders, sometimes she uses a Post-it and writes down one or two affirmation words or phrases.  She sticks them on the refrigerator or the mirror in the bathroom as reminders.

Try this: List three things you are grateful for today. For example, your loved one smiled at you at breakfast, a friend brought you a meal, or you walked alone for a 20-minute walk

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The second advantage of gratitude was acknowledging other people. Emily learned that expressing gratitude towards others makes us feel appreciated and strengthens the bond between individuals. Whether it was showing gratitude towards loved ones, friends, or the people who support us, it fostered a sense of connection and enhanced the quality of relationships. Emily made a mental note to start expressing her gratitude more often, knowing that it could create a positive and supportive environment where the ones she cared for felt valued and acknowledged.

 

Oprah Winfrey once said, ‘Be thankful for what you have. You will have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.'”

 

Emily discovered the third benefit was increased resilience.

She learned that by focusing on what she was grateful for, she could reframe challenging situations and find silver linings. This shift in perspective would enable her to overcome obstacles and find the strength within herself to face adversity head-on.

To cultivate gratitude, Emily journaled and reflected on her blessings, contributions, small successes, and strengths.

She also practiced sitting quietly for 5 minutes daily and taking deep breaths from her diaphragm, which studies show can lower blood cortisol levels.

 

Emily also learned that gratitude could enhance physical health. Research has shown that grateful individuals tend to engage in healthier behaviors, such as regular exercise, better sleep, and a balanced diet. While cultivating gratitude is not a magic bullet that makes life stress-free or joyful every moment of the day, Emily noticed her feelings of anxiousness, anger, or negativity have decreased. Her arthritic pain and sleep have also begun to improve.

 

Another advantage of gratitude was boosted self-esteem. Emily realized that daily reflections on her accomplishments, unique qualities, and the things she was grateful for in her life led her to increased self-worth, which boosted her self-confidence. This newfound empathy transformed Emily’s relationships, as she became more compassionate and supportive, acknowledging her parents and brother’s positive impact on her life.

 

Finally, the most extraordinary outcome of Emily’s gratitude journey was the increase in her overall happiness. By focusing on the positive aspects of her life and expressing gratitude for them, she cultivated a mindset of appreciation and contentment. She realized that happiness wasn’t some elusive destination; it was a state of mind that could be nurtured through gratitude.

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