Parents are often telling their children that they “need to be more grateful” but as adults are they truly grateful themselves? We rush from one thing in life to another and rarely take time to be truly grateful for the important things in our lives.
As part of this blog post, I’m going to explain two ways in which you can build in a gratitude practice every day, one of which will blow your mind and create special moments in your family.
Robert Emmons has been studying gratitude for well over 15 years and defines gratitude as
“a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life”
Robert also describes the benefits of gratitude as:
- gratitude enables you to celebrate the present and helps guard against hedonic adaption i.e. when the novelty of a new experience or possession wears off
- gratitude blocks toxic emotions (envy, resentment, regret and depression)
- grateful people are more stress resistant
- gratitude strengthens social ties and self-worth
When people report as feeling grateful, thankful and appreciative in their daily lives, they also feel more loving, forgiving, joyful, and enthusiastic. Notably, the families, friends, partners and others who surround them consistently report that people who practice gratitude are viewed as more helpful, outgoing, optimistic, and trustworthy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003).
How much does it matter? Consider these amazing statistics from Happier Human:
- people are 10% happier within 6 months of starting a daily gratitude habit
- 25% increase in the quality of sleep
- reduction in depression symptoms by 35%
- 10% less pain
To see all 31 benefit with original references visit HappierHuman.com
“The antidote to fear is gratitude. The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can’t feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time.” – Tony Robbins
At the start of this blog post I explained how you could express more gratitude.
There are two powerful ways that I use to express gratitude, with the second being the most amazing experience
Every day, usually on my commute I complete a daily journal, which takes me about 5 minutes. One of the questions I ask myself each day is “What am I grateful for?”
I don’t think about it too much and allow the question to wash over me and write down what bubbles up. Some days this can be big things going on in my life, such as the support of my project team or the love of my wife but on other days it can be the simple things such as the feeling of the warm sun on my face.
If you are interesting in starting a daily journaling practice, check out the 5 minute journal:
Hopefully you’ve made it to the bottom of this blog post because I wanted to share something that has had a powerful effect on my family. Every evening, my wife and I sit with my 7 year old son (Rhys) in bed and ask him:
What three things are you grateful for today?
We go first and Rhys goes last, he calls it ‘doing gratefuls’.
He lies in bed, puts his hand on his heart, lowers his breathing and really speaks from his heart. The things that he has expressed have amazed us with responses that we didn’t expect from a little boy and it has literally brought tears to our eyes.
It’s not because he’s a budding zen-like master. He’s like any young boy who loves treats, toys and material things. The process of dropping into your heart and expressing gratitude is where the magic happens – and taking the few minutes to be truly grateful.
He enjoys the bedtime ritual so much that even when it’s late at night and we “forget” to do it, we hear the little voice shouting “we haven’t done grateful yet!”