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The Gratitude Gift that keeps on Giving

In the craziness of modern life, it's easy to overlook the small miracles that surround you each day. Hidden within the mundane routines lies a profound catalyst for transformation: good old gratitude. Much like a pinch of salt that elevates the taste of an entire dish, gratitude has the power to enhance the flavour of life in remarkable ways.



The beauty of gratitude lies in its simplicity. You don't need elaborate programs or hours of dedicated practice. Just a simple, regular acknowledgment of the blessings in your life can work wonders. Research has shown that integrating gratitude into your daily activities can amplify the overall quality of your experiences, fostering a deeper sense of fulfilment and well-being.


At its core, gratitude is about embracing all facets of your life, recognizing the goodness that surrounds you, and acknowledging the role others play in shaping your journey. As Professor Robert Emmons, a leading expert on gratitude, explains, it involves affirming the goodness we receive and recognizing that it often comes from sources beyond ourselves.


Over the past two decades, numerous studies in the field of social science have unveiled the profound benefits of gratitude across various aspects of life. From improving mental health and physical well-being to nurturing stronger relationships, gratitude serves as a potent "social glue" that binds us to one another.

But gratitude is more than just a fleeting emotion; it's a practice that reshapes the very fabric of your brain. Studies on gratitude interventions, such as gratitude letters or journals, have revealed tangible benefits for mental health and well-being. By cultivating gratitude, research proves, we can cultivate a more positive outlook, boost self-esteem, and experience greater satisfaction in life. All of these have been found to be measurable and universally demonstrable.


So how does gratitude work its magic? By shifting your focus from life's challenges to its blessings, gratitude strengthens your ability to recall positive experiences and emotions. As you train your mind to acknowledge the good around you, even amidst adversity, you build resilience and fortitude.


An important finding is that gratitude extends beyond the realm of mental well-being. It influences physical health in profound ways as well. Studies have shown that grateful individuals tend to experience fewer health complaints and engage in healthier behaviours, such as nutritious eating habits and regular exercise. Imagine that! You practice gratitude and find yourself better able to make the choices around your lifestyle that you have been trying to make! It’s a no-brainer!


But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of gratitude lies in its capacity to strengthen your relationships. By expressing gratitude, you not only acknowledge the kindness of others but also deepen your connection with them. Whether it's a heartfelt thank-you note or a simple gesture of appreciation, gratitude fosters generosity and strengthens the bonds that unite us. Everyone needs to be appreciated and feeling appreciated opens you to show up more and connect more deeply. Gratitude sets in motion an upward spiral of interaction and feel-good-based-engagement.


In essence, gratitude is a journey—one that leads us to a deeper appreciation of life's blessings and challenges alike. It offers a pathway to a richer, more fulfilling AND HEALTHIER life and it's so easy. It can be as complex as writing down 3 things a day that you are thankful for, or saying "thank you", deliberately in your conversations out there in the world and inside your head - so you affirm and appreciate yourself.


So tune in to gratitude, even if it feels really awkward and unnatural at first. As you train your brain, you are shifting its default setting from seeing all the negative stuff to focusing on the good stuff. When you do that deliberately, it gets easier day by day and the benefits are so great, you will feel them for months to come even if you stop (which I don’t recommend at all). I have a trigger, I'd like to share, when I get into the shower and feel the cold (when it's super-hot as it has been in Jozi) or hot water run onto my skin, to focus on my gratitude list. My second trigger, is when I get in between the sheets at night and feel my lovely, comfortable, safe bed, I remember to be thankful for that incredible blessing. My third and final trigger that I want to share with you is water. When I turn on the tap and water pours out, I remember to feel grateful.


I always remember the words of John Demartini: “What you think about and thank about, you get more of”. Give it a whirl as you start the new fresh month of March and see how you feel!


Much Love,

Sue

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