“When you experience wonder and you’re in the moment, you feel the divine. And what that does is engender gratitude,” said Louie Schwartzberg.
Scientific studies show that being in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and worry while improving focus, creativity, and sense of connection.
Watch this simple meditation from Moving Art, and start making a list of everything you are grateful for…
The Science of Gratitude
A study out of the University of California, Riverside, reported that grateful people experience more optimism, joy, enthusiasm, and other positive emotions, and they have a deeper appreciation for life’s simple pleasures.
These researchers also found that by expressing gratitude for people in your life, like a friend or romantic partner, you can report higher levels of satisfaction in relationships. The most intriguing fact to come out of this study though was that gratitude is a skill that can be learned and nurtured, much like perfecting your Grandmother’s secret recipe.
One of the best ways to practice gratitude is by journaling. This exercise helps you develop a greater appreciation for the good in your life. In fact, people who routinely express gratitude enjoy better health and greater happiness. The best part—there is no right or wrong way to keep a gratitude journal.
We recommend starting out with writing 15 minutes per day, at least once per week for at least two weeks. Soon you’ll figure out what works best for you and discover the impact on your happiness level.
Starting a Gratitude Journal
What you give attention to will grow. Gratitude journaling is a powerful, research-backed practice that can bring more health and happiness into your life. You don’t have to do it every day. In fact, some studies show that three times per week is more effective than daily. But you do have to do it regularly to see results.
Here’s how you can create a gratitude journaling practice.
Start by choosing a place to store your gratitude observations. It can be a computer file or a handwritten journal. Make sure it’s an easy place to access so that it’s easier for you to sit down and write.
Now try to think of five things you are grateful for. The key to gratitude journaling is to be as specific as possible. Depth is more important than breadth. Write about the full experience. If someone gave you a gift, write about why it was important to you. Write about how it felt to receive it.
If you get stuck thinking of five things, try to imagine what your life would be like in the absence of something. For instance, you could be grateful for clean water or your pet or the tree outside your window that shelters you from the sun. Try replaying your day in your head and thinking about what you took for granted. You can be grateful for the mug that held your tea or the socks on your feet. Don’t overlook simple things.
One final tip: try not to repeat anything in future entries. It’s okay to mention the same person or thing, but try to note the specific experience that made you feel grateful. Maybe you noticed the artistry of the mug and how smooth it felt in your hand. Perhaps you noticed your friend’s gentle and supportive nature, and not just their cleverness in selecting a gift for you.
You can expect lots of benefits from gratitude journaling, including a more optimistic mood, better sleep, and a generally positive outlook on life.