Ascent Leadership Program
Alignment in Gratitude
Behavioral and psychological research has shown some surprising life improvements that can arise from the practice of gratitude. To practice giving thanks not only makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, improves health, and reduces stress.
Gratitude can be embodied a number of ways: thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, or acknowledging everything that you receive or already have.
Findings from a 2012 University of California, Davis study by McCollough and Emmons indicated that a daily gratitude exercise resulted in significantly higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Those in the practice group reported feeling less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress towards achieving goals.
“To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings” says Dr. Emmons. “Our difficulties and challenges carry seeds within that are of an equal or greater benefit.”
Gratitude shifts or aligns your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.
Opportunity for Refection:
In the face of adversity, pause and ask ourselves…What is good about this? What can I learn from this? How can I benefit from this?
Where am I finding appreciation in simple pleasure and things that I may be taking for granted?
Where can I bring gratitude to an experience?
Whatever the mind focuses on, the mind attracts – the law of attraction. Now, in this moment, what am I grateful for?
A gratitude practice can be as small as intentionally pausing in a moment to become aware and appreciate something you are thankful for. Or it can be more planned, like setting aside time to journal daily. Regardless of what the exercise may look like the research has revealed significant benefits for a daily practice. As many of us are planning family gatherings or thinking about the upcoming holidays, there may be opportunity for gratitude practice. Or even an opportunity to try something new. “When you are in alignment with the desires of your heart, things have a way of working out.” Iyanla Vanzant