The Power of Gratitude
At Take Care Coaching, we like to focus on the positive in life. In coaching sessions, we bring this out by focusing on what went well between sessions or the best experiences a client may have had with a goal. Studies show that when we focus on what’s going well in our lives (versus what isn’t), we’re more likely to keep reaching for our goals.
One important way to focus on the positive is by practicing gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to you. It can also be a general state of thankfulness and appreciation. Studies show that practicing gratitude daily has many benefits, such as maintaining a more positive mood, sleeping better, improving your relationships, decreasing your stress, and increasing your overall satisfaction in life. You can learn more benefits by exploring the resources at the end of this blog. Practicing gratitude has so many positive benefits because it allows you to be aware of and appreciate all that you have. Take Care Coaching encourages you to try to practice more gratitude in your life. Take a look at the list below and see what speaks most to you. Maybe try to incorporate one or two of the suggestions into your week this week.
Ways to Practice Gratitude
Gratitude visit - Think of someone still alive who did something that changed your life for the better. Perhaps it could be someone who you never properly thanked. Write a letter of gratitude, approximately 300 words, and be specific about what this person did and how it affected your life. Just writing out your words of appreciation will make you grateful for their impact in your life. To take this exercise even further, try to visit this person and read your letter to them. Your happiness (and theirs) will immediately increase!
Keep a gratitude journal – Every few days or once a week, write down three to five things for which you are grateful — anything that is specific to that day. This can include relationships, feelings, abilities, positive situations, or other blessings. An example could be, “I am grateful my presentation at work went so smoothly.” To take this exercise to the next level, try to link your three to five things to your values. Using the example, why was it important that your work presentation went smoothly? This will enhance your gratitude even more.
Meditate – For 5 to 10 minutes focus on what you are grateful for while you meditate (e.g., the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).
Take a gratitude walk – Take a walk and notice all the things that you are grateful for around you, such as the trees, sky, gentle breeze, flowers, butterflies, etc.
Liberally and sincerely express appreciation – Say thank you often and authentically. Be generous about sending thank-you notes and gifts. Say, “I appreciate you and what you did.”
Create a gratitude playlist – Make a playlist of songs that inspire gratitude, kindness, and appreciation. On YouTube and Spotify there are already gratitude and happiness playlists you can listen to immediately to lift your mood.
Share gratitude at dinner – Sharing one thing you’re grateful for from that day or week is a beautiful way to connect before you share a meal.
Create a gratitude jar – Any time you experience a moment of gratitude, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Empty the jar from time to time to review everything you have written. You could also continue adding to the jar and review everything at the end of the year.
Take a gratitude break – Close your eyes, relax, and for one minute, think about all the things you are truly and deeply grateful for. Breathe mindfully noticing how your body feels thinking about gratitude. Gently open your eyes and continue with your day.
If this entry has inspired you to learn more, please check out the peer reviewed articles and book below:
This is only a small selection. There is so much more out there! For additional resources, contact Info@TakeCareCoach.com.
Emmons RA, et al. "Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/pdfs/GratitudePDFs/6Emmons-BlessingsBurdens.pdf
Grant AM, et al. "A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way: Explaining Why Gratitude Expressions Motivate Prosocial Behavior," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2010): Vol. 98, No. 6, pp. 946–55. http://www.umkc.edu/facultyombuds/documents/grant_gino_jpsp_2010.pdf
Seligman M, et al. "Empirical Validation of Interventions," American Psychologist (July–Aug. 2005): Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 410–21. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7701091_Positive_Psychology_Progress_Empirical_Validation_of_Interventions
Seligman, M. (2012). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press: ISBN 9781439190760.