Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. ~ Gladys Bronwyn Stern
Gratitude: to feel or show that one values a kindness or benefit. (Oxford American Dictionary)
Martine Seligman writes “Insufficient appreciation and savoring of the good events in your life and the overemphasis of the bad ones are the two culprits that undermine serenity, contentment and satisfaction.” However feeling and expressing gratitude seems to increase life satisfaction because it focus on and intensifies the experience of good memories about the past, both recent and more distant path.
So how to get more gratitude in your life? Practice. Practice. Practice. Here least three simple practices you can try. The most powerful for the majority of people are the Gratitude Journal, and the Gratitude Visit. These practices have been used by many people and have been show to increase people sense of happiness and feelings of well being over time. The third practice is a bonus, Everyday Gratitude, falls under the heading of manner don’t cost you much but can reap large rewards.
Gratitude Journal or Three Good Things
At the same time each day write down at least three things for which you are grateful. Write by hand to connection yourself physically with these good memories and strive to come up with more than three things, shoot for say 10. These may be things that went well that day or they could be other things in your life. Here are some examples:
“Hearing my nephews laugh over the telephone.”
“Managing my time well which enabled me to cross one extra thing on my list.”
“I did not blow up today when I got cut off in traffic.”
“Rufus Wainwright’s version of Zing! Go The Strings of My Heart.”
In the simplest terms, write and deliver a thank you letter to someone you have not fully thanked for their kindness. Think about someone you who has had a tremendous positive impact in your life and whom you have yet to fully thank. Take time over several days or a week to write a one page testimonial letter expressing you thanks for why you feel this deep gratitude. Once you have written the letter, deliver it in person and read it to them with your sincere emotions if possible. If not, read it to them over the phone. Let the recipient’s reaction unfold, slowly.
Everyday Gratitude, pass it along. – Bonus practice
Say thank you to someone everyday. Remember to verbally thank people – especially when they aren’t expecting it. Did the counter clerk do a good job, stop, look the person in the eye and offer a sincere Thank you. The small things really do matter and compound.
To get a sense of the full effect of how powerful these practices can be, try this. Write down your answers to the following questions on a piece of paper or journal first before you start these practices and then two weeks after you have been practicing. I bet you’ll find a shift up the scale.
- On scale of 1(lowest) - 10 (highest) how happy are you over all?
- On scale of 1(lowest) - 10 (highest) how well have you been getting along with people important you?
- On scale of 1(lowest) - 10 (highest) how well have you been taking care of your wellbeing?