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The link between Gratitude & sustainable Happiness
by Recalibrate Body Mind Spirit
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We all are familiar with the words gratitude and its definition - “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return to kindness,” but what does that mean for our daily lives? How do we implement this consistently? Most of all, why would we want to?

The word gratitude originates from the Latin word “gratus,” meaning pleasing, and can be dated throughout history. Gratus is also seen as the root word for grace and gratuity; reflecting positive moods, actions, and even ideas. Being grateful is a state of honoring divinity in our lives. Gratitude gives us the opportunity to see from a point of view outside of ourselves, experiencing value and benefit from everything, even things we cannot understand. The outcome of practicing gratitude can be so mentally altering it can be seen as medicinal for someone suffering. Studies across the world have shown research consistently associating the practice of gratitude with greater happiness, improved health, and relishing in present moment experiences.

Sounds pretty amazing, right? Who doesn’t want to reap all those benefits. So where is this gratitude and how do we get it? Let take a look.

Turns out that gratitude is available anywhere at any time! It’s up to us to tap into it or make a point to start practicing ways to experience it. Some simple ways are:

Meditation & Introspection - This can be a journal prompt, a seated or moving meditation, or taking time to reflect on small or complex happenings in your life and finding appreciation in them. A daily practice offers opportunity for a life theme of gratefulness.

Give Back & Volunteer - Connection is a fundamental part of the human experience, and what better way to cultivate gratitude then by connecting to others. Taking the focus off yourself and offering your time to another human may stir up more emotions than you realize. Clean out that closet and donate those clothes, offer your service to a food bank, or share your time with a child who needs a role model. These are simple ideas but you can get as creative as you’d like!

Take a break from all Media - This past year has been trying on us all, and let's admit it, screen time is at an all-time high. With that said, we could all use a little break. The Blue light from screens not only can lead to eyestrain but also blocks your hormone called melatonin which helps you fall asleep. We could go into more, but I’ll save that for another blog. Reconnect to your senses in a compassionate way. Surround yourself with nurturing ways to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear with an appreciation of life and each experience has to offer to the senses.

Watch your Language - How we talk to ourselves and others impacts our thought patterns on a subconscious level while also impacting our reactions - both physical and emotional. A grateful linguistic style includes key words such as joy, gifts, give, blessings, fortunate, and abundance. During a mindful gratitude practice, focus not only on how good you are but on the good things others have done on your behalf

Why do we want gratitude and is happiness really sustainable? Now that you have ideas on how to generate a gratitude practice, lets dive into happiness and how to sustain it.

Most research has shown happiness comes from within, so how do we find it? Having experienced life, we all know just deciding to be happy isn’t really like a light switch we can flip on or off. However, psychology studies have shown a consistent gratitude practice changes the neural structures in our brain, and while that is going on, our brain is also sending out positive hormones that regulate the function of our immune systems.

Grateful people move through the world deriving more pleasure and fulfillment on a day to day basis. The multidimensional layers between happiness and gratitude prove in order for us to sustain happiness, we’ll need to continuously nourish this practice. But once started, gratitude will continue to impact our physical and psychological wellness for years to come.