The Horn of Plenty is a symbol which often evokes a sense of thankfulness and fulfillment. But if all you see is a bunch of squash, and you don’t like squash, this image will probably not make you feel happy or grateful! Harvard Health News, published by Harvard Medical School, reported that gratitude is associated with greater happiness. When a person feels grateful, they experience an increase in positive emotions, improved physical and mental health, are able to deal with adversity better, can strengthen relationships, and can relish the good times more thoroughly. <!–split–>
There are many ways to feel and express gratitude. When applied to their past, people can retrieve good memories, and feel thankful for childhood or past blessings. In the present, don’t take things for granted—enjoy and be grateful for the here and now. The future is best approached with hope and optimism.
Not feeling the gratitude yet? Thant’s okay, because you can cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is a form of appreciation for what you have. If you are constantly searching for the next new thing, hoping for satisfaction, that satisfaction won’t be found. By focusing on what you have over what you lack, you will find that life satisfaction grows stronger the more you practice gratitude.
Here are a few ways to practice a GRATITUDE ATTITUDE:
WRITE A THANK YOU LETTER: to make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person, consider writing and sending a thank you letter. If you are able, personally deliver the letter and read it to them. Make a habit of writing at least one thank you letter once a month.
THANK SOMEONE MENTALLY: is writing difficult? Use your brain and heart to thank someone who has done something nice for you. Remember their kindness and enjoy the memory.
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL: get a notebook and write down thoughts about gifts and blessings you’ve received each day. You’ll be surprised at how many times you are blessed each day!
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: choose a time each week to sit down and write about your blessings. It’s helpful to pick a number such as 3 or 5 things to reflect on. Write your thoughts down, and think about how you felt when something good happened to you.
PRAY: Prayers of thanksgiving strengthens our gratitude journey.
MEDITATION OR MINDFULNESS: take time every day to focus on the present moment, without judging yourself. Some people focus on a word or phrase, such as love or peace, but you can focus on what you are grateful for, such as a pleasant sound like shared laughter, or the warmth of your home.
BOTTOM LINE: “IT IS NOT HAPPINESS THAT MAKES US GREATFUL. IT IS GRATITUDE THAT MAKES US HAPPY!” –Anonymous
In this season of celebrating Thanksgiving, may each of you feel gratitude and happiness in your whole being . . . Physically, mentally, and spiritually.
(reprinted with permission from Laura Brown, RN, Parish Nurse)
Your Parish Nurse, Kara