How to express gratitude makes you grateful


I currently spend four hours a day in a Midwest elementary school. In addition to memories of book fairs and cafeteria cookies, the experience is evoking vivid memories of the holiday craft era. In these schools, the hallways are full of paper turkeys with sequined spots, each with the phrase, “I’m grateful for ______.” The last part varies from turkey to turkey; some children are grateful for their parents, while others are grateful for food and housing. Regardless of your answer, kids are into something.

As yogis, we are taught to accept gratitude. It is a safe place to return to in times of stress and anxiety. But for some people, finding gratitude is a challenge. Which is not alarming. To quote a recent article from the New York Times, “gratitude is hard, because life is hard. ”

But can we be more grateful even if our circumstances contradict the feeling? This article says yes. If we choose to actively practice gratitude, we increase our overall happiness.

From The New York Times:

This is not just a hokum of self-improvement. For example, researchers in a 2003 study they randomly assigned a group of study participants to keep a brief weekly list of things they were grateful for, while other groups listed annoyances or neutral events. Ten weeks later, the first group enjoyed significantly greater life satisfaction than the others. Other studies have shown the same pattern and lead to the same conclusion.

So even if you don’t necessarily have something to be thankful for, find something. And write it down.

There have been countless studies on the effect of creating your own happiness, whether through positive thinking, meditation, or laughter. The newspaper Cerebral cortex illustrates the direct effect of gratitude on the hypothalamus and how it is able to stimulate the ventral tegmental area, leading to pleasurable sensations. In other words, “choosing to be happy” is not as ridiculous as it sounds.

There are several things you can do to reintroduce a grateful mindset into your life, starting with three different types of gratitude. The first, inner gratitude, is the practice of giving thanks in private. That means making a mental note to find the good in your situation. For example, think “I I may not want to go to this job function, but I am happy to have a job and I am grateful to those who took the time to plan this event. “

Another way is outward gratitude, which encourages people to express thanks in a public forum. The New York Times describes it as follows:

Psychologist Martin Seligman, the father of the field known as “positive psychology,” gives some practical suggestions on how to do this. In his “Authentic Happiness” sales success, he recommends that readers systematically express gratitude in letters to loved ones and colleagues. A disciplined way to put it into practice is to make it as routine as morning coffee. Write two short emails each morning to friends, family, or colleagues, thanking them for what they do.

This not only increases your own happiness, but also makes someone feel a little better. After all, how often does someone randomly thank you? Unexpected kindness is always a pleasure.

The last is to appreciate useless things. These can also be classified as simple; the smell of coffee, the soft exterior of an apple, and the textured bark of a tree are part of this group.

This Christmas, whether you like it or not, find a time to look for things that inspire gratitude. It can be as big as your family or as simple as a jar of honey. Whatever you choose, take a moment to focus on the quiet blessings of this thing. You could even make a turkey out of it.

Photo of Maria Gotay

amanda-kohr

Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a passion for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight instead of the sun, and likes to live in a state of three Cs: cozy, creative, and curious. When you’re not typing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next attraction on the road, or a family dinner. He also wanders the Internet at amandahr.com.





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