Toni Lansbury blogs about things she is grateful for, www.gratitudeathon.com, and is a freelance creative director/copywriter/attention getter, who’s most recent work you can see at uturndesign.com. You can always reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram at @tonilans
It was seven years ago, during a frigid December, when about 1,298,973 miserable things were happening to me simultaneously. My kids were young teenagers and I am the one responsible for putting the “happy” in happy holidays. I was completely overwhelmed. (Where are the elves when you need them, anyway?) So, I did what I knew how to do–something I learned from Oprah years before—I read up my gratitude journal. But instead of writing what I was thankful for in a notebook, I used Facebook. I promised to write one thing I was grateful for every day for a month. And a funny thing happened, I felt better. Another funny thing happened, the people reading my posts felt better. When I ended my little experiment, they urged me to keep it going, to write a book or create a blog. I declined, thinking it had served its purpose.
A month later, I missed gratitude. So, with the help of a friend, I put a basic website together and the gratitudeathon blog was born. It’s been read from Bulgaria to Canada, Thailand to Australia.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the simple act of getting grateful (And Robert Emmons, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude has the research to prove what I’ve experienced firsthand):
1. Practicing gratitude is easy. Just commit yourself to writing down (on paper, or a computer), what you’re feeling grateful for. It can be as simple as your bed, and as complex as that friend who showed up when you needed them most. Yup, that easy, but don’t be fooled, it’s powerful in its simplicity.
2. Studies prove that gratitude is a major mood booster. It actually makes you happier. And, can you have too much happiness?
3. The mind and body are connected, so an enhanced mood means an enhanced physical body. It’s the most natural of natural medicines.
4. People are drawn to those in a positive state. Gratitude helps put you there.
5. It’s easy to find your gratitude when things are going well, it’s even more important to nd it when things are challenging. Focusing on something good can help you through something bad.
6. Gratitude makes every day better, by asking you to become more aware throughout your routine. It helps keep you in the moment.
7. By focusing on what you have, you realize what you need, and you might nd that it’s less than you thought.
8. You can’t control the world, but you can control how you look at it. A gratitude practice isn’t magic, it’s just choosing to see the good in your life.
If you want to do something that doesn’t take much time, but can have a radical effect on your wellbeing, give a gratitude practice a shot. And if you want to see what I’m grateful for, head to gratitudeathon.com.
- A gratitude practice is easy but powerful. Focus on what’s is good in your life and write it down daily.
- Gratitude improves relationships. People are drawn to those in a positive state, and gratitude can put you there.
- Scientific studies have proven that practicing gratitude can make you happier and healthier.
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