START A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Much is now known about the benefits of practicing intentional thankfulness. It isn't just a high-level Christian virtue anymore; it is a way of turning your personal life toward greater health and happiness.
Appreciative people feel better about their lives. They are physically more healthy than those who focus on that which has gone wrong, or what didn't work, or what they dislike.
Thankfulness can become an intentional activity, like exercise — with beneficial results predictably generated by the process.
Gratitude Journaling is the practice of reflecting on a handful, or more, of things that happened during the day that you can recognize as being good for you, directly or indirectly. You then write them down in a notebook and repeat this every day. Each day, you will think of that day's goodness, or your realization of something you appreciate — small, medium or large, and write it down in your journal.
Research by a University of California (Davis) professor lists these changes in those who daily counted their blessings and recorded them: They...
Felt better about their lives.
Had more energy.
Acted more optimistically.
Showed more enthusiasm.
Lived with more determination.
Became more interested.
Expressed more joy.
Contracted fewer illnesses.
Got more sleep.
Were more helpful.
Another part of focusing on thankfulness involves communicating your appreciation to others. Inside each of us is a drawer full of pleasant feelings generated by the helpfulness, efficiency, artistry, kindness and reliability of others.
We brighten people's lives when we sprinkle them with the good feelings and appreciative attitudes we are carrying around inside ourselves. In the process, we feel happier as well. Giving gratitude flows in both directions, lifting the sender as well as the receiver.
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