Can Gratitude change our lives?

Gratitude means thankfulness, acknowledging everything that you receive and any simple pleasures. Research shows Gratitude improve quality of life. Two psychologists, M. McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and R. Emmons of the University of California, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day. The second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences. The last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

Usually, people tend to take for granted the good that is present in their lives. A good exercise to learn how to be grateful for those is to imagine to lose some of those “granted” things, such as your home, your current job, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk and the list can continue… Then imagine to get, one by one, each of those things back and consider how grateful you would feel for each one. When things don’t go as you wish, or when facing difficulties always remember that there is a reason why things are happening in this way and right now, be confident that any challenge has the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. While keeping this in mind, when facing an adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”.                                                   There are many ways to practice Gratitude and a method I advise to my clients during my sophrology and coaching sessions is to keep a gratitude journal which consists of writing daily a list of things for which you are grateful. At the beginning the list can be limited to 1 thing only, then you will realize this list increasing in the day to come as you will be more and more projected in recognizing the things to be grateful for in your daily life. I also advise to do this practice at night before going to sleep “looking back at my day, which are the things I am grateful for?”.

With this simple exercise you will notice that you will begin to appreciate simple pleasures, that there are plenty of simple things you can be grateful for, everything you have or that you will be experiencing in your life will gain value. Do not wait for a great thing to happen in your life to feel happy, start bringing gratitude to your experiences and to your life right now!

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Veronica Bostock -Sophrologist in Geneva – English, French, Italian and Spanish speaker