Welcome to the final part a 4-part series on the G. L. A. D mindfulness technique described in David Altman’s book, The Mindfulness Toolbox. Let’s examine “G” for gratitude. Part 1 described finding daily delight and mindfully repeating them as part of improving well-being. Part 2 discussed how small repeated accomplishments that have personal meaning contribute to well-being and happiness. Part 3 discussed how choosing to learn something new daily affects your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and actions.
The Webster dictionary defines gratitude as “feeling of thankfulness, or the state of being grateful.
What Gratitude is Not
- Gratitude practice is not about ignoring pain or denying difficult life experiences (hardship, deaths, losses).
- Gratitude practice is not about creating lists of items and facts that you don’t find meaningful.
- Gratitude practice is not a magic cure for life’s struggles, sorrows and mishaps.
Why Gratitude Practice?
- Human beings are more likely to notice what’s not working well. We tend to notice negative incidents and talk about it. We are often flooded by bad news and reminded of the terrible state of our world. It’s necessary to be intentional about focusing on the positive. Gratitude practice helps.
- Gratitude practice reduces aggression. Check out this University of Kentucky research. Participants who practiced gratitude tended to show more empathy and were less likely to retaliate.
- Gratitude practice has been found to improve physical health (lower blood pressure, improved heart rate). Dr. Robert Emmons of University of California, Davis has been studying gratitude for almost a decade. He also noted that
- Gratitude practice can lead to improved sleep.
- Gratitude practice helps build social resources and relationships. In a book on Designing Positive Psychology, Dr. Ken Sheldon and others noted that gratitude helps build bonds between people and often fosters the desire to return kindness.
- Gratitude Practice improves psychological health. Dr. Robert Emmons’ research further suggests with gratitude practice, the parasympathetic part of the nervous system is activated and cortisol (stress hormones) levels are reduced.
What I am grateful for?
- I am grateful to God for life.
- I am grateful for family and friends.
- I am grateful for my garden where there is always something new every day if I look!
- I am grateful for the guy at Home Depot who helped me out unexpectedly.
- I am grateful for my office neighbor who took time to call the locksmith when I locked myself out of the office.
What if I have Nothing To Be Grateful For
I have heard this said a few times. I am the first to admit, life can be difficult and challenging. Check out whether this is a form of negative thinking and perhaps some resistance. If you are reading this you are alive, can read and have a phone computer, iPad or some device. Do you have clothes you can wear? A bed to sleep on? Some food to eat? This is not just about thinking positive. This is about seeking out what is working well or better while acknowledging pain, difficulty and struggles.
Thanks to those who shared. I would love to hear from you.
Here are 2 questions for you
Who are you grateful for today?
What are you grateful for today?
It’s never too late. Now is always a good time to be G.L.A.D!
You might say you don’t like writing so put this in notes on your phone.
But look at all those beautiful journals out there!
Jumoke Omojola is a Mental Health Therapist in Omaha, Nebraska where she assists adults create healthier, happier lives and nurturing relationships. She serves Bellevue, Ralston, LaVista and other surrounding Omaha and Council Bluffs areas.
Get more information about Gratitude Practice. Contact Jumoke at 4029816624 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to share this blog! Have a grateful day.