Exploring Gratitude

To live with a sense of gratefulness is a way to a healthier and more fulfilled life. Wisdom traditions, positive psychology and neuroscience all point us in this direction . Some of the identified benefits include a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure, higher levels of positive emotions, more joy, optimism, and happiness, acting with more generosity and compassion, feeling less lonely and isolated.

Gratitude brings us into greater relationship with the world around us. Much is written of mindfulness these days and gratitude makes us mindful. Instead of passing by people and things in our busyness and task focus, gratefulness can cause us to reflect and notice.

It is so easy in this world to have the experience of not enough: not enough time, not enough money, not enough recognition, not enough control, not enough support, not enough opportunity and so on., This lack, this sense of scarcity, tends to inhibit gratitude with a, “yes but”. Our sense of scarcity and lack arise from childhood experiences and cultural messages – not good enough, not smart enough, not good looking enough, not slim enough – all limiting beliefs that fuel self doubt, low self esteem and making us smaller than we truly are.

Gratefulness and ‘enoughness’ are not cues to inactivity, complacency or mediocrity. They are affirmations of possibility. We are enough….and there is also always more for us to become and do.

The world needs us to be grateful, and to be all we can be, for our own and everyone else’s sake.

The payoffs of living from a place of gratitude are great and, as is so often the case, it can be easier said, than done.

Whatever you are doing today notice the small stuff and all that this wonderful life has to offer. As the poet W.H. Davies says ” What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”

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