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Bethany Ainsley

Bethany Ainsley, Wellbeing Specialist

The Power of Gratitude

Have you had an experience recently that’s made you feel incredibly grateful? Perhaps someone close to you had a health scare, you might have walked past a homeless person sleeping on the street, or heard about a colleague going through a rough time.

Gratitude helps shift your focus from what you feel is missing in your life, to appreciating what is already present. Ghandi summed this up perfectly in the following quote: 

“I was sad because I had no shoes and then I saw a man with no feet” Mahatma Ghandi.

Psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University and Robert Emmons of the University of California carried out an experiment on gratitude and its impact on well-being. Within the study hundreds of people were split into three groups and asked to write about their daily experiences. Group one wrote down things they were grateful for that day such as family and waking up on a morning. Group two wrote down things that had bothered them such as finances depleting fast and a friend not appreciating a kind gesture. Group three wrote about any experiences from the day. 

The results of the study indicated that practicing daily gratitude resulted in greater energy, optimism and life satisfaction. The group that practiced gratitude were also 25% happier than those that had not. 

When you practice gratitude regularly you tap into neuroplasticity which strengthens positive new brain cell connections. Why not try implementing gratitude into your daily routine?

Keeping a gratitude journal is one method – each day writing a list of three to five things you are grateful for. The best way to do this is to think about the smaller things in life – waking up to the sun shining, a smile from a stranger or quickly finding a parking space. Over the next 21 days try to write down or think about three things you are grateful for and see what benefits you experience.

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