Gratitude is the Heart’s Memory

Gratitude_Mandala“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  – John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  – Melody Beattie

 “Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likeable.”  – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Gratitude is being grateful! Thankful! Appreciative! Obliged!

Life can feel so negative. Whether it is family quarrels, friends who aren’t there when you need them, media attention on the latest school shooting, co-workers or supervisors critical of your work; whatever it may be, the world is induced with negativity. You can increase your own feelings of gratitude by keeping a daily journal in which you list up to five things for which you are grateful.

Gratitude is being aware of and appreciating good things that happen and taking the time to express thanks.

 Positives of gratitude:

  • Less burnout
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Motivates pro-social behavior
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Affect perception of the work place
  • Positive bias in remembering life events
  • Promotes effective coping skills

Dispositional and situational gratitude may impact different aspects of well-being. Thus if you are more grateful for social aspects of your life but not your work environment, you may benefit by focusing your gratitude journal on workplace aspects.

To ensure consistency consider:

  • Timing
  • Frequency
  • Place
  • Environment

Choosing a convenient, consistent time and location may increase the likelihood that you will follow through on maintaining a gratitude journal.

Things to consider:

  • Time span

Daily journaling is the most effective. Regardless, research shows entries made daily, over a short period of time (two weeks) or longer; weekly over a longer period of time (ten weeks) had a positive impact.

  • Focus

Professional. Intimacy. Family. Social. Personal. Recreation. Spiritual. Career. You may choose to pay attention to a different aspect of your life each day of the week or to center on only one facet over a particular time span. It is your choice.

  • Method

Use pencil and paper, audio recording, word processing, or a smart phone or tablet computer application. Does one method differ in effectiveness versus another? Choose the one that enables you to maintain consistency.

  • Letter writing

Write a letter expressing your gratitude to a particular person, supervisor, colleague, friend, or loved one could impact the recipients’ attitudes and behavior in the workplace, home environment, or social settings. It can also help you cope more effectively with conflict even if the letter isn’t sent.

References

Lanham, Michelle E.; Rye, Mark S.; Rimsky, Liza S.; Weill, Sydney R. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Oct2012, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p341 – 354. American Mental Health Counselors Association.

Froh, Jeffrey; Emmons, Robert; Card, Noel; Bono, Giacomo; Wilson, Jennifer. Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents. Journal of Happiness Studies. Apr2011, Vol.12 Issue 2, p289-302.

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