I just paused to look out the window. The rust gold leaves and the grey blue of the harbor waters are truly beautiful. The scene is different than it was 30 minutes ago when I breezed by it on my way to the computer. I’m grateful for this; the view, the ongoing changes in it, the sun today, all of it.
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you’ve probably been reading about or hearing talk of gratitude. There are gratitude journals, daily gratitude tweets and all sorts of books about it too. Unfortunately “Gratitude” is in danger of becoming a buzzword (if it isn’t one already). Worse, it could become a fad, empty of its life enhancing juice. Just when I was getting comfortable…
Twenty, no make that ten, years ago “grateful” would not have been a word I wanted in my vocabulary. I don’t think I ever said it. Despite hearing even back then about the benefits of gratitude, I resisted. There was something about it that felt wrong.
Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t have trouble feeling appreciative of the things other people did for me or gave to me, nor difficulty expressing those feeling with words and deed. I liked the concept of appreciation. So why not gratitude?
It turns out that gratitude, for me, was synonymous with indebtedness – a holdover from childhood. I was resisting the message of guilt and insincerity I’d attached to it, and who wouldn’t? It turns out that I’m not alone, may people think of gratitude as a requirement. Luckily, once I figured that out, I felt free to use the word to mean “appreciation” and to let the feelings of being lucky, satisfied and safe come along with it.
We could make up a different name for gratitude, we could call it “Frenginslouge” and the effects would be the same.
Because, the benefits of practicing gratitude are real.
Research in the field of Positive Psychology has yielded some interesting outcomes including results from studies focused on the benefits of gratitude conducted by Robert Emmons from the University of California at Davis.“ The practice of gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%,” states Emmons. “Cultivating gratitude brings other health effects, such as longer and better quality sleep time.” For a summary of some of those studies you can look here.
Gratitude is an emotion and emotions require…a pause.
Pausing serves to slow you down so you can access positive emotions like gratitude. You can appreciate something in your environment, or in your past, or feel grateful for someone you usually take for granted or whom you tend to pass without noticing. This pause-break can make a huge difference in your well-being, satisfaction with your life and resilience too.
As I write this, I pause right here to appreciate YOU with this complimentary PauseAbility For Gratitude download. Just click HERE
(After you click on the link, follow the prompts to “purchase” the download for $0.)
A wholehearted thank you for thinking and feeling along with me as you read. Thank you for the lovely replies you’ve sent in the past, and those you’ve thought about sending.
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