Yesterday, all across the US, families and friends gathered to celebrate a day all about gratitude. People spoke of their joy of having those family members and friends in their lives. They expressed gratitude for their jobs, homes, health, and everything else they could think of. There were declarations of thankfulness for all of the important things in life – the things that are impossible to buy, the things that bring us true happiness.
Gratitude, contentment and thanksgiving in the present moment, should extend far beyond the confines of a single twenty-four hour period once a year. Not acknowledging the beauty and joy that we have in our lives on a daily basis can make us feel like our we are stagnant or that we are constantly striving for the next big thing. Happiness is ours for the taking right now – every day.
Research has shown that having an attitude of gratitude can actually change the structure of the brain making us healthier and happier. It brings us a sense of peace and a sense of wellbeing by releasing toxic emotions. Although the benefits of practicing gratitude daily may take time and repetition before effects are noticeable, the effects are lasting well beyond the cessation of the practice.
Daily expressions of gratitude through journaling, meditation, prayer, or any method that works for the individual may lessen feelings of depression and anxiety. It may also increase energy levels and allow for better sleep at night. And, it can increase levels of creativity which can be used to propel a person into a season of growth and change that may result in more things to feel grateful for. Gratitude is the fuel we need to enter into that beautiful cycle of flow.