Being Grateful

There is much recent attention being paid to the spiritual practice of gratitude. It is not an exaggeration to say a grateful spirit has the power to transform a life. Gratitude has been called the greatest of all virtues and even the parent of all others.

According to Psychology Today.com:

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.

Several studies have looked at the benefit of daily gratitude. Writing down three things each day that you are grateful for can lift depression, improve sleep, improve immunity, and lower stress. Another study showing similar results asked participants to write a letter of appreciation to someone who had helped them in the past, and then deliver it in person if possible. Albert Schweitzer had this in mind when he said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

As a recovering perfectionist, I admit that I don’t spend enough time focusing on the positive. Instead, I tend to look for what is wrong, or what needs to change. Nowhere is this more apparent than in my garden. Too often than I care to admit-I spend time in the garden contemplating the weeds rather than simply taking in the incredible beauty.

So, I write this today as much for myself as for you. Taking time to see life as a gift, to see the beauty in each day and to say thank you is a powerful remedy for sadness, discontentment, and unhappiness. There is an old saying that says if we don’t befriend gratitude we will never shake hands with happiness.

The German Philosopher, Meister Eckhart said “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Take some time to say “thank you” today.

Be Well on Purpose!

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