Goal #3-Be Grateful
This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
If you've been reading any of my blogs for a while you will know how fully I embrace the practice of writing down what you are thankful for. I am talking about getting a stack of paper and a pen and listing each person and every thing you appreciate or love. I know this can be a timely project however your well-being may depend on recalling all you enjoy and that blesses your life in one way or another. Recognizing and writing down your "gratitude list" is especially important when you are feeling stressed, worried, overwhelmed or questioning your goals or accomplishments in life. Constantly reminding ourselves of our blessings creates a better attitude and outlook as well as deeper spiritual, emotional, and physical connections to life and to the people around us.
"Being happy does not mean having what you want, but wanting what you have."
Rabbi H. Schachtel
Thousands of years of literature talk about the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue and my intention today is to encourage you to be thankful even if you're going through a tough time. There are multiple scientific studies that show how living with an attitude of gratitude really does improve your life.
In Robert Emmons book, "Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier" he reports on several studies. In the first, he and his colleagues divided participants into three groups, each of which made weekly entries in a journal. One group wrote five things they were grateful for. Another group described five daily hassles and a control group listed five events that had affected them in some way. Those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives overall, were more optimistic about the future, and reported fewer health problems than the other participants. Results from a second study suggested that daily writing led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly practice.
In another study he discovered how people using daily gratitude journals report more satisfaction with their lives and are more optimistic about the future than people who don't. Interestingly, grateful people also report getting more sleep, spending less time awake before falling asleep and feeling more refreshed in the morning.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that gratitude can have a protective effect against heart attacks. Studying people who had experienced one heart attack, the researchers found that those patients who saw benefits and gains from their heart attack, such as becoming more appreciative of life, experienced a lower risk of having another heart attack.
Hopefully I've convinced you that living a life of gratitude is the only way to live. There are so, so many reason to be thankful...always. Oh...and don't forget to say "thank you" when someone does something nice for you or pays you a compliment!
For more specific ideas on how to set your goals you can read one of my posts from January 2014 here:
Goal Setting 101
"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
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